BUSINESSES are being warned over major changes to the rules which protect staff when a business is bought out or a service provision change takes place.

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, known as TUPE, were changed recently with the introduction of new regulations.

It ensures that employees cannot be dismissed if the business they work for is sold unless there is a genuine economic, technical or organisational reason.

Claire Haworth, solicitor in the Employment team at Napthens solicitors in Blackburn, said: “The Regulations will make it easier for a business to dismiss staff when a change in location is involved, something which was not previously protected under the TUPE regulations unless there was a simultaneous reduction in staff numbers.

"They will also mean that any collective redundancy consultation will be able to begin prior to the transfer date. This will benefit the transferee, the incoming employer, who will be able to ‘kick start’ the redundancy process much sooner.

“Finally, those businesses which employ ten staff or less, will be able to consult with affected employees directly rather than through a union or appropriate representative.”