Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

The Transfer of Undertakings (Employment of Employment) Regulations 2006 (“TUPE”) provide employees with certain rights and protections when the business they are working for is acquired by another business. It implements the Acquired Rights Directive in England and Wales.

TUPE provides employees with four particular broad rights when a “relevant transfer” takes place. It also provides the transferee (the business which is purchasing the other business) with the right to be provided with certain information regarding the transferring employees. There are also specific regulations which apply when an insolvent business is being acquired.

This post will tackle the circumstances in which a “relevant transfer” takes place (and therefore the TUPE regulations ‘kick in’). This will involve an examination of the law but will also include the use of examples to illustrate and simplify the potentially complex law involved.

When does a “relevant transfer” take place?

A relevant transfer can take place if one of two circumstances occur:

  1. A business transfer takes place; or
  2. A service provision change takes place

Business transfer

To test whether a business transfer has taken place three fundamental questions must be asked:

  • Was the undertaking (the business) a stable economic entity prior to the transfer?
  • Was there a transfer?
  • Was the undertaking transferred in a recognisable form?

Was the undertaking (the business) a stable economic entity prior to the transfer?

This ultimately involves the question of whether the transferor was an ongoing economic enterprise at the time of the transfer. In order to determine whether an ongoing economic enterprise exists a number of factors are looked at (among others):

  • Was there a stable group of wage earners at the transferor?
  • Is the whole or part of the business being transferred?

There normally must be a stable group of wage earners present for there to be deemed an ongoing economic entity to exist. TUPE can apply to both whole businesses and parts of businesses – but whether it applies to parts of businesses depends on the type of business that is being transferred and the “framework” of the part of the business. TUPE doesn’t also necessarily have to apply to just private industry – it can also include non-commercial ventures: the NHS, local education or non-profit organisations.

Has the undertaking been transferred?

The courts will look at the particular facts of the case to determine whether a transfer has taken place. However, the transfer doesn’t have to take place in one transaction – it can take place over a number of transactions and doesn’t necessarily have to be proximate in time (i.e. it can take place over a long period of time).

Was the undertaking transferred in recognisable form?

Again, the courts will look at the facts of the particular case to determine whether the undertaking has been transferred in a recognisable form. The first question to ask is: does the business retain its identity? The greater the similarities between the business prior to and after the transfer, the more likely it will pass the test. For example, if a chocolate factory is converted to a nightclub after the transfer then it is probable that it will not be deemed to have transferred in recognisable form. Relevant factors which determine whether the business retains its identity include (among others):

  • The type of business or undertaking involved
  • Whether the transferor’s tangible assets (buildings, equipment etc.) have been transferred
  • The degree of similarity between activities carried out before and after the transfer

Service provision change

Services provision changes (or “contracting out”) can also be covered by TUPE if the majority of its employees are transferring, the intention of the parties is that the provision of services will transfer, and that the transferee has tendered on the basis that TUPE applies.  Should these three conditions apply then the normal rules related to above apply: has the business actually transferred?

Examples of service provision changes include, for example, the transfer of hospital cleaning services from one contractor to another or an educational college terminating a catering contract in order to provide its own services.


Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk.

Tagged with →  
Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk


4.64 Average

28 Reviews


Excellent service from initial contact to deliverables.

Posted 5 hours ago

Virginia K

Yes, Chris Hadrill answered all my questions and I feel more confident with my current situation

Posted 6 hours ago


Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

Posted 1 day ago

Andy W

Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 3 days ago


I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 3 weeks ago


Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 3 weeks ago

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 4 months ago


Chris Hadrill was very professional and responsive. I would highly recommend him

Posted 4 months ago


Very Efficient, with very quick email reply’s. I had a matter that needed resolving within a very short space of time and Redmans Solicitors were great with dealing with my matter quickly.

Posted 4 months ago


At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 4 months ago


Clear, concise advice and guidance delivered by an experienced and very capable solicitor, within the timelines required

Posted 5 months ago


Very efficient service. I never had to wIt for more than a day for a reply to any of my queries and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

Posted 5 months ago


Very timely, thorough and helpful advice. Friendly and considerate of the needs of the client

Posted 5 months ago


Very prompt and attention to detail. Thank you for the service

Posted 5 months ago


Couldn’t be happier with how Redmans successfully handled our seemingly tricky case. By being clear and detailed every step of the way, with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, they made it an informative and eye-opening process, taking the stress out of the situation and ultimately delivered what you would want from such a service. I fully appreciate everything they have done, and if I am ever in need of such services in the future, they will be the first number I contact. Excellent.

Posted 5 months ago


Excellent work delivered with great quality

Posted 5 months ago


Chris Hadrill was a great help both in terms of his advice and his expertise. He explained my options to me clearly and concisely enabling me to quickly make the right decision for me in the circumstance. I would not hesitate to recommend Chris or Redmans to friends or colleagues, and would certainly make Redmans my first port of call should I require a similar service in the future.

Posted 5 months ago


Redmans gave excellent advice and helped me understand everything in clear concepts. Thank you!

Posted 5 months ago


Resolved my issues

Posted 5 months ago


Quick fast professional service.

Posted 5 months ago


"Prompt, efficient and practical advice that resulted in me getting some additional money tax free."

Posted 5 months ago