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How are the implications for UK employment law shaping up since Brexit?

12 July 2016

A significant proportion of the UK’s employment law is derived from EU law

 
A significant proportion of the UK’s employment law is derived from EU law, including:

  • discrimination rights;
  • family leave;
  • working time regulations which regulate working hours and holiday;
  • transfer of undertakings regulations, otherwise known as TUPE, which protects employees on the transfer of a business; and
  • the agency worker regulations.

However, for practical and political reasons, it is likely that EU law will continue to exert a significant influence on UK employment law for some time. Even if the government wishes to continue its agenda of deregulation, it is unlikely to want employers to have to deal with a sudden, fundamental change in the law and is more likely to take a piecemeal approach, keeping the majority of EU-derived employment law, at least initially. In addition, it is unlikely that any government will repeal laws that have promoted equality and diversity which are widely regarded as part of the fabric of society and are generally popular.

However,  there will still be some EU-derived employment laws that may be repealed sooner rather than later. These include:

  • aspects of the Working Time Regulations 1998, possibly those giving holiday rights to workers on long-term sick leave, as well as the inclusion of commission and overtime payments into holiday pay; and
  • the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 which give agency workers the right to the same rate of pay as non agency workers after they have been placed for 12 weeks, which are seen as commercially unpopular.

Over time, individual employment laws may be varied where they are perceived to be unduly restrictive. For example, the TUPE regulations may have the protection given to the terms and conditions of employment of employees on the transfer of a business weakened.

Much will depend on the kind of ongoing relationship the UK has with the EU. For example, if the UK adopts the ‘Norway model’, becoming part of the European Economic Area (EEA), many EU regulations and directives concerning employment rights will continue to apply. These rules would be interpreted in line with decisions of the European Court of Justice. Even if we do not join the EEA, any deal which sees the UK remaining in the single market, or which involves a free trade agreement with the EU, is likely to require continued adherence to fundamental EU employment rights.

For now at least, and for however long it takes to agree Brexit, the current employment laws will remain.

For continued assistance on how to apply them to best protect your business, please contact Sarah Everton on 01782 577000 or email sarah.everton@myerssolicitors.co.uk.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only.  They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

2950
 
Sarah Everton 
T: 01782 525012
E: sarah.everton@myerssolicitors.co.uk


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