TUPE and Business sales and acquisitions

The employment law considerations involved business sales and acquisitions can often be the most contentious and worrying aspects of a deal.  Not so with us.  We take care of the employment issues for you and, where necessary, we work alongside other specialist solicitor partners who trust us to deal with employment aspects of business sales and acquisitions.

The requirements of the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 are technical, complex and provide for potentially large penalties if they are ignored.  They can also often be contrary to legitimate interests of the business and even their staff in needing secrecy in commercial discussions.  The clue is in the title: Protection of Employment.

The central purpose of TUPE is to protect the employment contracts and rights of those affected by a business transfer.  Serving that purpose, the obligations for giving information and consulting with the workforces of both buyer and seller, or outsourcer and contractor, should be respected with care.  Not only are penalties under TUPE up to 13 weeks pay (uncapped) per affected employee, but the unwary employer can find themselves on the wrong end of constructive and unfair dismissal complaint and claims of discrimination.  (A typical example is where an employee on maternity leave is left out of the consultation process.)

We use our expertise and experience to guide you through the TUPE obstacle course.  TUPE is complicated but we aim to make it at least understandable in a useful way.  We offer realistic and practical advice in any given situation to help you achieve your commercial goal.

As an example, Stephen Jackson explains:

…a household-name retail chain business was intending to walk away from the proposed purchase of a regional competitor.  The chain had been advised by a large firm of solicitors that the TUPE implications of a purchase presented employee liabilities of close to £500,000 so as to render the purchase non-profitable, at least in the short term.  After some discussion with the directors, I was able to examine the situation and explain why the risk was more theoretical than real.  As a result, the deal was back on and completed with profit to all parties involved.”

If you are involved in or thinking about buying or selling a business in part or in whole, or outsourcing or contracting for work, give us a call.