Brexit and its impact on Employment Law

One of the biggest questions surrounding Brexit is what impact will it have on our laws and legal system?

While much of UK employment law is derived from the EU, the current analysis suggest that the impact of Brexit on UK employment law will be limited, regardless of whether the UK leaves with a deal.

Employment solicitor Briony McDermott looks at the case.

She said: “Whilst the Withdrawal Agreement Bill introduced into Parliament does not contain any provisions to safeguard existing EU-derived workers' rights, the government has stated that it intends to introduce a new Employment Bill to legislate separately to protect and enhance workers' rights.

“Some of the proposals for the Bill were mentioned by the Queen in her speech opening Parliament in December 2019, however to date no further details have been released.

“In summary, the UK's withdrawal from the EU would mean that UK employment rights currently guaranteed by EU law would lose this protection.

“While the government could theoretically look to amend or repeal any rights put in place by EU directive, it is extremely unlikely that this will happen, and employment rights are likely to remain largely unchanged.”

Key areas will be as follows:

Discrimination: The Equality Act 2010 implements the UK's laws against discrimination and is primary legislation which will remain in force post-Brexit. It is very unlikely that any changes will be made to this act.

Parental leave and pay: some of the family-friendly rights derive from the EU and some from the UK, however as with discrimination legislation it is extremely unlikely that these rights will be repealed or amended.

Transfer of Undertakings: The UK TUPE regulations go further than required, essentially "gold plating" the EU directive. While the existing TUPE regulations will remain in force post-Brexit, there has been speculation that the government will introduce minor changes to make TUPE more business friendly, particularly in respect of the service provision changes, however whether or not this will happen is currently unclear.

Holidays and working time: The Working Time Regulations 1998 will also remain in force post-Brexit, however this is probably the area in which we see the most change, as UK employers will no longer be bound by the various ECJ decisions on holiday pay and other issues. The removal of the requirement to opt-out of the 48 hour working week has also been discussed as a potential change post-Brexit.

Briony added: “As things are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, the key consideration for employers in the post-Brexit landscape will be to identify any potential immigration issues that may arise including for individuals with professional qualifications and support them with any visa applications they may require during the transition period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020.”

For further information on Brexit and employment law contact Briony McDermott at briony.mcdermott@wake-smith.com or on 0114 224 2087.

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