What impact will Brexit have on Employment Law?
At the moment it is impossible to be accurate as to how the UK’s employment laws may change following our exit from the EU. However, it is unlikely that the UK government would seek to fully repeal existing employment laws.
In July 2018, the government published its White Paper on Brexit, The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. In Section 1.6.5 Social and employment, the government maintained that:
“The UK already exceeds EU minimum standards in a number of areas, such as parental leave and flexible working arrangements, and is a leader in many others”.
“Given this strong record, and in the context of the UK’s vision for the future relationship with the EU, the UK proposes that the UK and the EU commit to the non-regression of labour standards”.
Many areas of UK domestic law originated from EU law and have been heavily influenced by the decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), for example working time, TUPE and discrimination law. Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, UK courts will not be constrained by decisions that the ECJ make on or after the exit date.
The UK Government’s preparations for a ‘no deal’
On the 23rd August 2018, the Government published guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there’s no deal. The guidance confirms that UK employment rights which derive from EU law will continue to apply in the event of a no deal, except in relation to some protections relating to insolvent employers and European Works Councils.
The two areas that will be affected:
- Employer Insolvency: Employees who work in some EU countries, employed by a UK employer, may not be protected on the insolvency of the employer; and
- European Works Councils: Regulations will be amended so that it will not be possible to make a new request to set up a European Works Council or information and consultation procedure
In the event of a ‘no deal’, the following workplace rights and protections will continue to apply:
- Entitlements to paid annual holiday and rest breaks
- Protection for part-time and fixed-term workers
- “Family friendly” rights such as maternity and parental leave
- Agency worker rights
- TUPE regulations protecting employees on the transfer of a business or service provision change
- Discrimination legislation; and
- Collective redundancy consultation obligations.
Due to the current legislative impact on UK businesses, there appears to be little desire from the Government to use Brexit as an opportunity to change this.
More no-deal publications are expected in the coming weeks and today the Government has published the latest round of planning documents, please view here.
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