Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the latest of our series of posts on TUPE, we take a look one of the rights that employees receive if the business that they work for is acquired by another business. In a previous post we looked at the protection against unfair dismissal that employees receive. In this post we’ll look at the automatic transfer principle.

Where there is a relevant transfer (explored in this post) the transfer doesn’t end the employment relationship – it simply transfers to the business doing the acquiring. The contracts of employment of employees transfer to the transferee (the business doing the buying) on the same terms of contract as with their previous employer and with their continuity of service preserved.

In this post we’ll take a look at who transfers to the transferee upon a relevant transfer. In the next post we’ll take a look at what rights and liabilities are transferred from transferor (the business being bought) to the transferee.

Who transfers across when a relevant transfer occurs under TUPE?

Under TUPE employees who are employed, were employed immediately before the transfer, or would have been employed but for their being dismissed because of the transfer or a reason connected to it (which isn’t an ETO reason), who were assigned to the organised grouping of resources or employees that is subject to the relevant transfer, automatically transfer to the transferee.

How is employee defined under TUPE?

The following persons are transferred when a relevant transfer takes place:

  1. Employees
  2. Those persons who don’t have a contract of service but have an existing employment relationship with the transferor

Employee is defined in a wider context than usual under TUPE than it is for other purposes under employment law. It includes individuals who work for another person, whether under a contract of service or apprenticeship or otherwise. “Workers” (another category of employment relationship) would therefore normally fall under this definition and be transferred when a relevant transfer takes place. However, agency workers and self-employed workers would fall outside the TUPE provisions and not be transferred when a TUPE transfer takes place.

The second category – those persons who don’t have a contract of service but have an existing employment relationship with the transferor – is relatively ambiguous and can catch unsuspecting transferees out. Under this provision workers who do not have a contract of service with the transferor (such as staff providing catering or hygiene services at a workplace) can have their employment relationship transferred to the transferee.

Which employees are assigned to the organised group of resources or employees subject to the transfer?

This is a question of fact in any particular instance. The Employment Tribunal will look at all the facts of the case at hand and determine whether an employee or a group of employees were attached to a particular group of resources or employees that are subject to the relevant transfer. Issues that the Employment Tribunal will look at include length of service, permanence of attachment to a particular area of the business etc.

The next post will look at what rights and liabilities transfer to the transferee upon a relevant transfer.

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

Tagged with →  

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

Share →

Leave a Reply

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


Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry


    4.80 Average

    320 Reviews


    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 18 hours ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 3 days ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 5 days ago


    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 1 month ago


    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 1 month ago


    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 1 month ago


    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 1 month ago


    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 1 month ago


    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 2 months ago


    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 2 months ago