Brexit Implications on Employment Law
The potential impact on employment law by Brexit is, on the face of it, likely to be limited. Although a significant proportion of UK employment law is derived from the EU, it is unlikely that there will be wholesale changes following Brexit. However, the government may take the opportunity to amend some areas to reduce regulatory burden on companies, including:
- Amending or repealing the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.
- Introducing a cap on compensation for discrimination similar to that for unfair dismissal.
- Amending TUPE to make it more business friendly (for example, by making it easier to amend terms following a TUPE transfer).
- Addressing the issue of whether employees accrue holiday while off sick.
- Removing the cap on maximum weekly working hours.
The theory of the EU Withdrawal Bill is that it takes about 12,000 pieces of existing EU regulation and transfers them onto the UK’s law books. The government has published two sets of draft regulations, the draft Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 and the draft Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2018, for illustrative purposes, showing how the powers under clause 7 of the Bill may be used to correct employment law which will be retained after Brexit. The draft regulations reflect the technical amendments which need to be made to existing legislation to ensure that the law will continue to operate effectively after Brexit. The government has said that it will discuss these draft regulations with stakeholders at a future date, and that they should not be taken as the final version.
However, there have been calls for employment law to fall outside the Bill as there are concerns that the Bill leaves equality law, including the Equality Acts 2010 and 2006, open to significant changes without substantial parliamentary scrutiny (see for example the recent Fawcett review).