New Tupe regs for Christmas

Employers
face at least a five-month delay before new Tupe regulations come into force.

The
legislation, which protects employees’ terms and conditions when they are
transferred from one organisation to another, was due to be implemented on 17
July but will not now become law until December at the earliest.

John
McMullen, national head of employment law for Pinsent Curtis Biddle, told
Personnel Today that the draft regulations, which will be subject to a
three-month consultation period, are now unlikely to be produced until
September.

McMullen,
who advises the CBI on Tupe, said the current UK Tupe regulations need to be changed
because they are based on the Acquired Rights Directive of 1977, which was
overtaken by a new EU directive on Tupe in 1998.

“The
EU directive was implemented in June 1998 but it has no legal force in
individual counties until those countries produce their own regulations.

“The
directive itself is not very radical, the main question is where Tupe applies.
It could be decided by EU case law we already have or member states can go
further than the directive requires providing they are looking after employees
rights.”

McMullen
said one of the issues holding up the new regulations was pensions.

He
explained, “At the moment pension rights are excluded from Tupe. The directive
itself does not require member states to alter that but it does allow member
states to allow pension transfers if they want.

“This
is going to appear in the consultation document. As an issue it has huge
ramifications for small contractors."

Robbie
Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers Forum on Statute and Practice, said
he hoped the new delay to the Tupe regulations meant more time was being spent
resolving difficult issues such as pensions.

“I
hope the extra time has been used to tackle these troublesome points but I’m
afraid I have no confidence that this will be the case,” he commented.

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