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Changes to staff transfer laws

06 April 2006

New laws governing the transfer of workers between businesses when contracts change hands or companies are taken over come into force today (6 April).

Under the new regulations governing transfer of undertakings and protection of employment (TUPE), any business transfer or change of service provision must reassign all staff and any disputes to the new employer.

Mugni Islam-Choudhury, associate at law firm Bevan Brittan, warned that only agency staff are exempt from the latest TUPE regulations.

He said employers which dismissed existing staff would contravene the new regulations. These would be automatically considered unfair dismissals, unless it could be shown that they were for "economic, technical or organisational change".

Islam-Choudhury said: "Employers must be aware what they are taking on with new contracts. They should go through due diligence to establish if there are any TUPE-related consequences such as pay, conditions, staff disputes or tribunals that they will subsequently become liable for."

However, the rules have already been criticised by trade unions because there is no provision to harmonise pay scales for different groups of workers.

For more information on the changes to TUPE click here >>

By Emily Manson

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