Firms fear TUPE reform

The government has not taken the opportunity to prevent accounting staff
transferring from one firm to another if a client chooses a new service
provider, according to a commercial law firm.

Richard Isham, head of employment at law firm Wedlake Bell, has warned that a
reform of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations that
come into force from 6 April does not include an exemption for professional
services firms from the possibility that staff working on an ongoing basis with
a client could move to another firm if the client changes provider.

‘An accounting firm may have staff working in house for an audit client, with
this continuity of service these staff may want to keep their jobs with the
client,’ said Isham.

Even though the likelihood of firm’s staff staying with a client was small,
Isham warned the government had provided no protection for professional services

Accountants, law firms, banks and management consultants are thought to be
most at risk for the lack of exemption, as they often devote large teams to
single clients.
‘As before, we are aware that there remains a risk that TUPE may apply when KPMG
wins work from a competitor,’ according to Eddie Donaldson, head of UK human
resources at KPMG.

‘However, in reality it is unlikely as in most cases employees are organised
in such a manner that they will not be impacted by the regulations.’

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