Agencies must face TUPE laws

Agencies will not receive an exemption from the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) laws, according to the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).

The industry has been lobbying the department to be excluded from the regulations but has now been told that this is unlikely to happen. It is understood that BERR believes there was extensive consultation before the regulations were introduced and that they have not been in place long enough to be reviewed.

Kevin Charles, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising employment legal manager, says that the department will work with the industry to develop TUPE guidelines for agencies, particularly clarification on how much time a person has to be work on an account to be “dedicated” to it.

The IPA advises agencies to strengthen procedures around time sheets and to put flexibility clauses into staff contracts.

The TUPE regulations, which were introduced in April 2006, aim to protect employees when a business is sold or an account moves. Any employees working on accounts that change hands are entitled to transfer to the new agency from the incumbent.

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