How to follow the TUPE regulations when buying a dental practice
26 March 2019 by Leah Groves
In the context of a dental practice transaction, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) applies where there is a transfer of an undertaking, such as the sale of a practice. This means that a buyer of a dental practice automatically inherits the employed staff in the business; under their existing terms of employment. TUPE does not apply to self-employed personnel.
Buyers and Sellers each have legal obligations under TUPE. A seller has a duty to inform employees that a transfer is taking place and consult with employees. However, he/she should take advice from their engaged specialist dental solicitor as to the correct time to do so.
A buyer may be unhappy about some of the contractual terms of the employees. The buyer should however be aware of the TUPE regulations and the consequences that may arise from the variation of employment terms; as well as any dismissals. For example, a buyer cannot agree changes to their transferring employee’s employment contracts if the reason for the change is the transfer itself; or any reason connected to the transfer which is not an “economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce” (an ETO reason). Any changes to an employee’s terms and conditions following a TUPE transfer, not because of a transfer nor an ETO reason, will be valid. Conversely, any employee dismissed because of a transfer or ETO reason will be automatically considered an ‘unfair dismissal’; and there are potential claims that can be made by the employees.
It is advisable to consult specialist solicitors to ensure that Buyers and Sellers do not fall foul of TUPE Regulations. Should you require any further information or assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 01206 700113 or email [email protected]