Category Archives: TUPE

So What Changes to TUPE Following Government Consultation?

On 5 September the government issued its response to consultation over TUPE reform. TUPE has often caused lots of problems for employers and the consultation exercise, with a view to making changes, was meant to iron out some of the difficult issues that arise. However, surprisingly, the changes to the 2006 TUPE regulations are not as significant as previously anticipated. The revised regulations are expected to be laid before parliament in December 2013.

There will be no repeal of service change provisions so that this aspect will be retained. The provisions only apply where the services involved are fundamentally or essentially the same. The wording of the 2006 regulations are to be revised.

There will be a longer time frame for employee liability information to be provided by the transferor (outgoing employer) to the transferee (incoming employer) so that there will be a 28 day timeframe for the process compared to that of 14 days with the existing regulations. The existing defence that 28 days is not reasonable practicable will continue to apply.

Contractual changes following transfer will be permitted after one year. Therefore there will be limited relaxation of post transfer harmonisation which should help the long standing current frustration of employers who are unable to harmonise terms and conditions of transferring and existing members of staff even with agreement. Contractual changes will be permitted as long as the transfer is not the main reason for the change and that the change is based on an ETO reason. There will also need to be an appropriate contractual clause to allow any changes.

Collectively agreed terms will freeze at the point of transfer and clarification on this process will be included in the new regulations.

Change of location will be an ETO reason. This change will allow redundancies to be made due to change of location and will not be automatically unfair as currently.

Pre transfer collective redundancy consultation will count as part of due process. This change will be voluntary and there will be no new obligation to consult pre-transfer. The transferor may permit access to the transferee and consultation must be meaningful. Even if redundancy is inevitable the transferee can not issue any notices of redundancies until after a notional transfer. The transferor can not make any redundancies as it can not demonstrate any ETO reason. Employers will be given guidance on what is a reasonable time to elect employee representatives.

Micro businesses of 10 or fewer employees will be removed from collective consultation therefore employers can inform and consult directly with employees.

The Jargon Filled World of HR. Does It Add To HR’s Professional Credibility?

I have worked in HR since the mid 1990s and over the years have watched whilst the HR environment has become engulfed with jargon.  Developments began in the 1990s where the term HR overtook the term personnel and came from the States.  From the mid 1990s it seems the flood gates for HR jargon were opened. 
The pure and simple role of HR Manager that used to mean approaching one individual for support with people management has, in general, become, in many large organisations, HR Business Partner, a role that sits within a framework alongside various generalists and specialists who are approached for support where the need lies.  If you have a problem with a disciplinary situation you talk to the Employee Relations Manager, if you want to discuss pay and benefits you need to discuss this with the Employee Reward Manager rather than your HR advisor.  Where has the simplicity gone? 

Diversity has become the term for what once was equal opportunities.  Equal opportunities looked at various pigeon-holed individuals eg disabled or coloured to ensure they had equality in all areas of employment.  Diversity, however, is about valuing differences and uniqueness and being tolerant.  It does not focus on individuals but values everyone for who they are.  Nevertheless discrimination in all its now extended forms is still rife in the UK demonstrated by employment tribunal statistics so what does that say about this development? 

Employee engagement has become a hot topic.  This is all about catching the imagination of employees so they love working for a company, work harder and ultimately increase profits.  This tends to be linked with employee recognition which is deemed to be a communication tool that reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes people create for your business. Employees, therefore, rather than just receiving informal praise for a job well done are now encouraged to perform  for formal customised employee reward perks.  The aim is that these processes make people feel valued, reduce turnover, increase employee empowerment  and improve company culture.  Surely an employee is paid to do a good job so surely that is just reward anyway? 

Knowledge management is a range of strategies and practices used in a company to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of ideas and experiences.  Informal teaching/sharing processes that have always gone.  They have now been replaced by a formalised process where knowledge is captured via the management of competencies,  best practice transfers and cross project learning, all of which are formally spread throughout an organisation to the benefit of all.  Simple eh?  

Talent management  refers to the skills of attracting highly skilled workers, of integrating new workers, and developing and retaining current workers to meet current and future business objectives.   What happened to good old fashioned recruitment and employee retention?

Even the term recruitment has become resourcing.  

Just lately I have seen the terms onboarding and orienteering being banded around, terms from the States.  Orienteering in the UK used to just mean “anoutdoor adventure sport which involves walking or running whilst navigating around a course using a detailed map and sometimes a compass”.  Onboarding to me has nautical connotations and has nothing to do with employment.  Why have these somewhat ridiculous terms started to replace the good old fashioned term of induction which is the process of formally guiding and introducing a new employee to people and processes in an organisation?  

Instead of redundancy the terms downsizing or rightsizing are increasingly used.

Mergers and acquistions are known as TUPE transfers relating to the law The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (a legal mouthful in itself), which governs the transfer of employees from one company to another. 
The list could go on.

HR has a hard enough job being understood anyway in the business world so why make things even more difficult?  Instead of making HR seem to be “with it” in business aiming to exert an influence on proceedings, HR seems ever more out of touch.  How can HR be taken seriously if they cannot communicate in every day language?

I am a fan of good old fashioned plain English.  When I provide advice on HR and employment matters I use clear practical language so my clients understand what they need to do.  No-one has ever said to me “can you explain that more clearly or “I don’t know what you are talking about”. 

So, in conclusion, although I am sure the jargon attached to HR processes will continue to develop, I personally do not believe it does anything to add to HR’s professional credibility and if you want clear, practical jargon-free HR advice just give me a call.