In September, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published its response to the consultation on TUPE. The response was surprising, as the Government's proposals were less far reaching than expected. In particular, the plan to abolish service provision changes has been dropped. Instead, the new regulations are going to make it clear that, for TUPE to apply on a change of service provision, the service has to remain essentially the same after the transfer as before (which broadly mirrors case law).

Other changes are:

  • Micro businesses (fewer than 10 employees) will be exempt from the need to elect employee representatives, so small employers can inform and consult directly with individual members of the workforce;
  • Redundancy consultation starting before the transfer will expressly count in relation to the statutory time limits;
  • Collective agreements will be 'static' and so employers will not be bound by changes made to collective agreements after the transfer has taken place. Employees will essentially transfer with a snapshot of the collective agreement terms as they applied at the time;
  • Terms in collective agreements may be renegotiated after 12 months;
  • Changes in the location of the workforce will amount to an ETO reason, which could potentially justify dismissals or changes to terms and conditions.

The new regulations will be laid before parliament in December this year, so is likely to be in force in January 2014.

Here is the response in full.