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Transfer of undertakings: Transfers occur on objectively identified specific dates

Key points

In Celtec Ltd v Astley and others 26.5.05, C-478/03, the ECJ holds:

  • Article 3(1) of the Business Transfers Directive (77/187/EC) must be interpreted as meaning that the "date of a transfer" is the date on which the employer's responsibility for carrying on the business of the unit transferred moves from the transferor to the transferee. That date is a particular point in time, which cannot be postponed to another date at the will of the transferor or transferee.
  • Contracts of employment or employment relationships existing on the date of the transfer, including those of workers assigned to the undertaking transferred, are deemed to be handed over, on that date, from the transferor to the transferee, regardless of what has been agreed between the parties.