UK Ad Industry Campaigns for Employment Rules Flexibility

23 January 2008

LONDON: UK industry body, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, is calling for the exemption of creative services from the requirements of the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment, which came into effect nearly two years ago.

TUPE, as applied to ad agencies, requires a shop winning a new account to hire staffers who worked primarily on the business at its former agency.

An IPA conference heard that the regulations restrict client choice, are anti-competitive, and can be harmful for small businesses due to the increased costs and liabilities involved in pitching and winning new business. 

The conference heard from MP Peter Luff, who chaired the event: "These regulations are a very real threat and an unnecessary burden to the creative industries, with no benefit to anyone, least of all employees who end up at a disadvantage.

"Building brands matters more than ever before to the creative wealth of our economy, and TUPE is hindering this."

Sir Paul Judge, chairman of the Marketing Standards Board, told the conference: "In the rest of Europe  the EU legislation surrounding TUPE has been interpreted much more flexibly. 

"The industry must continue to lobby the government to bring our regulations into line with those in other EU countries and to give an employee the entitlement to choose not to have these 'TUPE rights' thrust upon him or her."
IPA employment legal manager Kevin Charles added: "The existing guidelines are unclear and confusing, so much so that we have seen cases where, if an employee is in a situation where TUPE applies he/she can be left in limbo for several weeks while the incumbent agency and newly appointed agency wrangle over who is liable." 

Data sourced from IPA (UK); additional content by WARC staff