The start of a new calendar year can be an ideal time to take stock of your existing arrangements and consider whether any changes are required. One of the changes you may be considering this year is to either bring in-house or contract out some of your support services such as your catering provision or cleaning services. If this is something you are considering then you need to understand your legal obligations under TUPE regulations.
As you may be aware TUPE stands for “Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)” and it is an area of employment law designed to protect employees’ rights in a number of situations. If activities are outsourced or contracted out to an external provider this is referred to as a TUPE Out transfer and the staff employed to provide that service transfer out of the school to become employees of the new organisation. Alternatively, if services previously provided by an external provider are brought in house those employees who are employed to provide that service will transfer in to become school employees. This is known as a TUPE In transfer.
What does this mean for the School and the staff involved?
All contracted staff, whether employed full or part time, permanently or on a fixed term contract, transfer to become employees of the new employer, if the work they do is wholly or mainly transferring. When employees TUPE transfer they transfer to their new employer on the same employment terms and conditions as they enjoyed previously and their new employer inherits all rights, duties and obligations due under the contracts of employment as if the members of staff had always worked for them.For staff transferring this means their contracts of employment continue unchanged with no break in service, and as a result they have no entitlement to redundancy pay.
For staff transferring this means their contracts of employment continue unchanged with no break in service, and as a result, they have no entitlement to redundancy pay.
How does the process work?
TUPE can be complex and we would recommend that you seek advice before proceeding, however, there are four key stages to any TUPE process:-
Stage 1 – Before the transfer
At this stage, it is important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed transfer and to ensure that the specific actions required around consultation with employees and Unions take place in a timely manner.
Stage 2 – Preparing for the transfer
Once the decision has been made to transfer the service, a robust plan is vital as there are a number of legal steps which need to be taken and some specific deadlines which must be met.
Stage 3 – The actual transfer
By this stage, the legalities will have been completed however it is important to ensure that any staff transferring into your establishment are properly inducted and integrated and that any required support is provided.
Stage 4 – After the transfer
Further action may be required to resolve any employee relations issues and the opportunity should also be taken to review the process and any lessons learned.
How can we help?
TUPE is an extremely complex area of employment law and there are a number of restrictions on what employers legally can and cannot do, for example in terms of harmonising contracts of employment. We can work with you to develop a project plan and timeline, support with the consultation process, attend meetings as required, provide template letters, and coordinate the transfer of data etc.
As a result, you will reduce the opportunity for valid legal challenge, reduce the risk of delays and ensure minimum disruption to service delivery which should mean that morale will remain high as all staff will understand the process, its implications and what it means for them.
If you would like to discuss the support we can provide in more detail please contact us.