Brexit and its possible impact on employment law
18 July 2016 by Neemah Ahamed
Despite the UK’s vote to leave the EU, it will remain a member of the EU for at least two years.
EU nationals will be able to live and work in the UK, and will be able to continue to travel to live and work here, until the UK formally leaves the EU.
In the meantime, the UK is bound by all EU law. Employers will still be required to comply with rules relating to:
- collective redundancies
- anti-discrimination law
- transfers of undertakings and
- working time regulations
It is difficult to anticipate the exact impact Brexit will have on employment law. The possible options are that the UK:
- remains part of the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that that it would still need to comply with EU employment legislation and its rules on freedom of movement; or
- may enter into bilateral free trade agreements with the EU and other major markets which will give it more flexibility and enable it to impose restrictions on freedom of movement; or
- may remain as part of the EAA for the short term with a view to entering into bilateral free trade agreements in the long run.
In the interim, it is likely that an Act of Parliament will be passed to maintain the current position and until a decision is made on which EU-derived legislation should be retained. Consequently, any amendments to the employment legislation could take a number of years.
Changes to employment law
While predictions on what changes the government will make are flying around, we have analysed the origin of employment rights and from our experience in advising employers in businesses, we believe it is likely that:
- Changes will be made to The Agency Worker Regulations 2010. These regulations provide basic protections for agency workers. The most important of these protections is that agency workers have the right to the same basic working and employment conditions as those directly recruited to work on an assignment for more than twelve weeks. It is possible that these regulations will be amended as they have been unpopular with UK businesses who have found it difficult to hire for short term periods;
· The principle of protecting employment on the transfer of a business is unlikely to be amended. However specific terms that protect the terms and conditions of transferred employees may be diluted;
· The government may propose that discrimination compensation should be reduced to the limits that applied before the European Court of Justice intervened; and
· Changes may be made to the way holiday leave is accrued and calculated to make this less onerous on employers as the European Court of Justice decisions and rules have tended to favour employees.
The Conservative government may remove and amend aspects of existing UK employment regulation which have proved unpopular with UK businesses where such removal will not be considered to be an erosion of the fundamental rights and freedoms of employees and workers.
If you require any employment law advice, please contact Tony Fisher at [email protected].
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