TUPE regulations were first passed in 1981 and in the Facility Management arena it is a very regular occurrence.  This blog looks at TUPE and how it applies to Office Cleaning Contracts.

What is TUPE?

The Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employees (TUPE) regulations give commercial office cleaning services staff protection in respect of their employment contracts when an office cleaning contract is moved from one contract cleaning company to another. This essentially means that employers cannot dismiss staff at will and the conditions under which they work remain the same.

Needless interference?

The TUPE update in 2006 caused widespread concern in the professional office contract cleaning sector. Commercial cleaning services then, as now, were provided for a fixed contract period of typically five years. Contracts running well sometimes had extensions and at some stage retendered. Some companies were used to having free reign to do as they wish with staff when taking on a new contract, because that was an easy way of managing costs. This could include reducing wages and increasing hours that daily office cleaning staff were required to work. Unsurprisingly these companies saw TUPE as a threat, bringing in needless interference and extra bureaucracy. The type of commercial cleaning services provider that behaved like that applied the business practices that result in low expectations of staff.  This usually led to poor productivity and likely as not, poor daily office cleaning services.

TUPE – An opportunity

The more forward looking contract cleaning company did not see TUPE as a threat. Indeed, for professionally managed daily office cleaning companies it was welcomed as an opportunity. These are the types of company that invest in staff, have high expectations of their abilities and provide them with the best equipment. This will result in high productivity and high levels of service. The structure of TUPE regulations when applied by a professional office contract cleaning company can go a long way to improve a contract. This includes a wide range of options to take apply and develop the abilities of staff at all levels throughout the contract.

Staff concerns

Inevitably though, and in spite of the many protections that TUPE regulations offer, staff understandably worry when the time comes for a new contract cleaning company to take charge. Staff will be concerned that their circumstances will change even within the bounds of TUPE, and that is unsettling. Gossip flourishes and it is easy for undesirable sentiments to flourish. For this reason it is important to avoid unpleasant shocks and focus on supporting them at a potentially troubling time and bringing them into the conversation. Good communication is a vital part of this process.


Through timely and considered messaging, daily office cleaning staff can learn that they can trust their new employer. Sometimes the contract cleaning company will have to deliver unwelcome news.  Maintaining trust happens when employers are honest and considerate. It is sudden surprises that undermine trust.  Furthermore this creates a negative atmosphere around the beginning of the commercial cleaning services contract. It takes time to rebuild that trust once lost.

The benefits of TUPE

Those viewing TUPE as an encumbrance lose sight of the fact that there are some genuine benefits for employees. The previous contractor might have been responsible for delivering the commercial cleaning services for several years. They might have become jaded, which staff sense and this will be reflected in their work. The old contractor unlikely to have the drive and enthusiasm of a new office contract cleaning company that has just successfully tendered for the contract. Almost certainly employees will find a new contractor more open to new ideas, welcoming comment and opinions about how matters might improve. A professional commercial cleaning company will genuinely value the grass roots viewpoints of those who have been closest to the sharp end of the contract. This ensures that new contractors can deal with any ongoing concerns right from the start.  Fresh ideas will reinvigorate every aspect of the contract.

It is a fact of life in the commercial office cleaning services industry that most employees will come to contractors through TUPE. It is also true that if those employers consult staff and treat them with the consideration they deserve, then provided with the best equipment and products, the new contract will be significantly better.

TemcoUK understands TUPE

Our team has vast experience of transferring staff via the TUPE process.  We always work closely with staff to discuss any operational changes and explain any changes to schedules or staffing. Our aim is a smooth transition which results in higher productivity and service levels.

Please contact us on 01895 520370 to find out more.