The main changes the government is proceeding with are amending the TUPE Regulations allowing renegotiation of terms agreed from collective agreements one year after transfer, provided any changes are no less favourable to employees regardless of whether the reason for the change is connected to the transfer.
It is also proposing that the location of a workforce can be within the scope of an economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce. Therefore redundancies which are due to a change in location of the workforce, will not be automatically unfair.
For there to be a TUPE service provision change, the service provision must be "fundamentally or essentially the same" as before the transfer. There had been a proposal to remove service provision changes altogether but the government has backed down from this.
The government is also allowing microbusinesses to inform and consult directly with employees where there is no recognised trade union or employee representatives. There will also be new rules allowing TUPE consultation to satisfy collective redundancy consultation rules. This means that pre-transfer consultation can count for the purposes of complying with the collective redundancy rules, provided that the transferor and transferee can agree and where the transferee has carried out meaningful consultation.
The government is also not removing the transferor's obligation to provide employee liability information. Instead, they are increasing the time limit for doing this to 28 days.
Indications are that the new rules will be implemented in January 2014. In reality, the scope for changing the rules was confined by the wording of the Acquired Rights Directive (from which TUPE is derived).
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