I’m buy­ing a new busi­ness — how do I take on em­ploy­ees in a trans­fer of un­der­tak­ings?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Caro­line Mcen­ery

AM tak­ing over a new busi­ness and I will also be tak­ing on the staff there. As part of the trans­fer of un­der­tak­ings process I want to en­sure this process is done smoothly. Please ad­vise. em­ployer im­me­di­ately prior to the trans­fer. The new em­ployer takes on all li­a­bil­ity for all em­ploy­ees and so it is of ut­most im­por­tance that a trans­fer of un­der­tak­ings is care­fully con­sid­ered.

In the event of a trans­fer, all obli­ga­tions, in­clud­ing con­ti­nu­ity of ser­vice, aris­ing out of the em­ploy­ment re­la­tion­ship are au­to­mat­i­cally moved to the new em­ployer.

The leg­is­la­tion pro­vides that all em­ploy­ees must be in­formed of the tim­ing and rea­sons for the trans­fer, through their rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

It is also re­quired that th­ese rep­re­sen­ta­tives are con­sulted on the trans­fer, with a view to reach­ing agree­ment, within 30 days or in good time. There is no re­quire­ment that an agree­ment is ac­tu­ally reached. This should cover: the rea­sons for the trans­fer; the le­gal, so­cial and eco­nomic im­pli­ca­tions for the em­ploy­ees; the scale of the trans­fer. An em­ployee rep­re­sen­ta­tive can mean a trade union, staff as­so­ci­a­tion or other body the em­ployer has con­ducted col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing with in the past. It can also be a per­son cho­sen by fel­low em­ploy­ees to rep­re­sent them. If an em­ployee rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s term of of­fice ex­pires as a re­sult of the trans­fer, she/he will con­tinue to en­joy the ex­press pro­tec­tion pro­vided by the Un­fair Dis­missals Acts 1977-2001 for such rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The range of key HR is­sues that need to be ex­am­ined if the chances of suc­cess are to be op­ti­mised in­clude:

en­sur­ing that due dili­gence pro­vides com­pre­hen­sive data on all as­pects of em­ployee re­ward, terms and con­di­tions and pend­ing/po­ten­tial em­ploy­ment li­a­bil­i­ties as all of th­ese will be ac­quired in the trans­fer by the new em­ployer; iden­ti­fy­ing har­mon­i­sa­tion is­sues post-trans­fer; es­ti­mat­ing both the time frame and the po­ten­tial cost of any re­dun­dan­cies;

en­sur­ing that cul­tural due dili­gence is car­ried out prior to a trans­fer, so that in­te­gra­tion pro­grammes can be im­ple­mented im­me­di­ately post-trans­fer;

com­mu­ni­cat­ing with af­fected staff and giv­ing the nec­es­sary time, re­sources and pro­cesses to man­age the trans­fer (pre and post trans­fer);

mov­ing quickly in the ap­point­ment of new man­age­ment per­son­nel as ap­pro­pri­ate.

To en­sure the smooth trans­fer of any busi­ness, the fol­low­ing points should be care­fully con­sid­ered: EM­PLOYEE LISTS AND TERMS AND CON­DI­TIONS OF EM­PLOY­MENT A list of all ac­tive em­ploy­ees should be pro­vided. This should in­clude de­tails of em­ployee’s con­tract type, eg full-time. Per­son­nel files should also be ex­am­ined to con­firm con­trac­tual terms but also all HR mat­ters. CON­TRACTS OF EM­PLOY­MENT AND EM­PLOYEE HAND­BOOK Con­tracts of em­ploy­ment and the com­pany hand­book should be ex­am­ined to es­tab­lish who has or has not a signed con­tract and hand­book; how old they are and how ro­bust they are. Also, any col­lec­tive agree­ments should be ex­am­ined. Caro­line Mcen­ery, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of The HR Suite is also au­thor of The Art of Ask­ing the Right Ques­tions, a man­ager’s toolkit on all Hr-re­lated tips to pro-ac­tively man­age your team

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