Firms await TUPE clarification

Experts remained hopeful this week that firms would win an exemption from employment legislation that could force accountants to switch from one firm to another against their will.

With the close of consultation on the controversial transfer of undertaking (TUPE) regulations on Tuesday, experts warned of conflicting views within government in the run-up to legislation going live in October.

Iain Patterson, employment partner at law firm Browne and Jacobson, said that so far government had been ‘ambivalent’ towards granting a professional services exemption, but hoped the consultation could still deliver a positive outcome.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, however, was more upbeat on the prospects for an exemption. ‘The draft TUPE regulations specifically include an exemption for professional business services,’ a spokeswoman said.

‘The government is currently consulting on the draft regulations and it is anticipated there will be a huge amount of support for the inclusion of this exemption by professional services firms.’

KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young were more pensive, waiting to see what the outcome of the TUPE consultation will be.

The government has so far appeared indifferent to the concerns of accountancy firms lobbying for an exemption, expressing concerns about excluding white-collar workers from the regulations and drawing distinctions between professionals and other workers.

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