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TUPE and cleaning contracts is a very important piece of legislation that everyone should be aware of that employs cleaners directly, or those that engage a contract cleaning company to provide their services.
TUPE is the abbreviated name for a piece of legislation called Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment regulations. (2006). It is designed to protect the roles of workers when there is either a business transfer, or a transfer of services. It is the latter that is relevant to contract cleaning services. TUPE and cleaning contracts therefore often go hand in hand, with ignorance being no defence for breaches of this law.
In simple terms, if you have a cleaner cleaning your premises, they may have a legal right to stay in that role, even if you change cleaning company. This is if the cleaner is employed mainly or wholly on the contract at your premises. Whether you employ the cleaner directly or they are employed by a company that provide your services, TUPE will still apply.
This is something that we hear more often that you could imagine. Companies even think it isn't worth changing company if they are stuck with the same cleaner, but just in a new uniform. The reality is that this couldn't be further from the truth. There are very few people that are simply unable to clean well, if they are given full training, support and are motivated in their role.
Think about if you were the cleaner at a site with no support from your company, who then lose the contract to a new cleaning company. Would it be right for you to lose your job and not be able to pay your mortgage or rent, without being given the chance to prove yourself with support?
At Green Fox Cleaning, here are two examples of when TUPE has applied with cleaning contracts we have been awarded with staff in situ, and has worked well.
"Hi guys. I cannot believe the transformation with our cleaners since you have started - I would never have believed they were the same cleaners!"GENERAL MANAGER - Brasserie Blanc, West Sussex
2. Dental surgery group, Hampshire - We took this contract on in 2020. There were two cleaners in place who were very good at their job, but demotivated by their previous employer due to again being on minimum wage, and never getting cleaning products they needed to complete their role properly. Below is feedback from the practice group manager:
"Can I just say a big thank you, it is such a relief to have an efficient company looking after our cleaning needs and I know Tracy and Charlie are much happier working for you now. The proof is how little we have to communicate with you!"PRACTICE MANAGER - Doctors surgery Group, Hampshire
It would be naive to say that every cleaner will transfer and improve with training, as some people simply don't like work and may be completely resistant to change. If this happens, we have strict disciplinary process in place to manage such individuals and they will ultimately be dismissed if they cannot deliver the highest standards that we expect for all clients after we have fully supported them and worked with them to improve them.
The average fine for non-compliance with TUPE legislation at tribunal is £10,000 per employee - this is for both you as the client, and also for the cleaning company. This is not a piece of legislation to take lightly!
TUPE is a piece of law and must therefore be adhered to. There are however occasions where a transfer will not be necessary. Our experienced HR team ensure that we work to comply with TUPE in the most efficient and satisfactory way for all clients. TUPE and cleaning contracts can appear a daunting subject to deal with, but a good commercial cleaning company should be able to fully manage this process smoothly.
You can learn more about TUPE from this link at the Government website.
More general information about the history of TUPE and cleaning contracts can be found here.