Upcoming Employment Law changes: TUPE, Worker Protection, and more

Last month, the Department of Business and Trade started a consultation on two changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). Here’s what you need to know:

Proposed changes to TUPE

Defining ‘employee’ more clearly:

  • A 2019 employment tribunal decision had complicated the current definition, which already was quite broad, being “any individual who works for another person whether under a contract of service or apprenticeship or otherwise. In that case it was held that this definition was wider than employees and could include more casual workers.  The government wants to amend this to make it clear that only employees are protected under TUPE, not the broader category of workers.

No requirement to split contracts of employment:

  • Where a business or service is transferred to more than one employer, it had been held that an employee’s contract should be split between the new employers in proportion to the tasks they performed for each employer.  The government plans to include a specific provision in the TUPE regulations to prevent this from happening. Instead, in cases where the work is being split between different businesses, “the employers taking over the business or service would be required to agree who should be responsible for each employee’s contract.”

This consultation will run until 11 July 2024.


Upcoming changes from 1 July 2024

TUPE consultation directly with employees:

  • For TUPE transfers taking place from 1 July 2024, employers will be able to consult directly with their employees (if there aren’t any existing representatives in place), where the business has fewer than 50 employees (currently the exemption is 10)  or where the number of employees being transferred is  fewer than 10  (regardless of the size of the business).

New Code of Practice on Dismissal and Re-engagement

  • Effective from 18 July 2024, this Code addresses situations where employers change terms by dismissing and rehiring staff on new terms. It passed in May, and we’ll provide a detailed legal update to HR & Employment Law clients soon.


Other important legislation

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 (‘the Tipping Act’):

  • Originally set for implementation in July, this Act has been delayed to October. It requires all tips to be distributed to staff and done so in a fair and transparent way.

Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023:

  • Starting in October, this Act introduces a new duty for employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. This would include measures such as having proper policies, training managers and workers, and investigating allegations thoroughly and impartially. Non-compliance could lead to a 25% increase in damages.

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023:

  • This Act, expected in October but with no confirmed implementation date so far, gives workers the right to request more predictable working hours where:
      1. the worker’s existing working pattern lacks certainty in terms of the hours or times they work, or
      2. if it’s a fixed-term contract for less than 12 months.

Employers can refuse these requests on specific grounds.

Looking for support?

It’s really important to stay informed and ensure your business complies with these upcoming changes to avoid any potential legal issues. HR & Employment Law clients can call the HR advice line for support on 0345 844 4848. If you’re interested in becoming an HR & Employment Law client, simply call 0345 844 1111.

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