If a company is sold, do new owners have to employ the existing staff on the same terms as their original contract?
When a company is sold, the employees of the old company are transferred to the the new company and are protected under TUPE – the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.
As a result of the transfer of undertaking an employee’s terms and conditions of employment are protected, unless there is a genuine economical, technical or organisational reason that applies. An employee under TUPE will transfer to the new company on the same terms and conditions of employment eg same salary, same benefits. They will also retain their period of continuous employment, that is their start date of employment will be the date they began their original employment with the old company (unless they were also transferred to that company which means their start date would be earlier).
There are many technical issues surrounding TUPE and any changes being considered to terms and conditions should be discussed with professionals with knowledge on this subject. There may be a lawful reason to vary a contract if it is an ETO, but you do not want to put yourself at risk of claims to an employment tribunal.