The UK was a member of the EU for almost 50 years and throughout those years, EU Law dramatically impacted UK Employment Law. This blog looks at the possible changes we could see to Employment Law following our departure.
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 and thereafter it was agreed that a transitional period would apply until 31 December 2020. On 24 December 2020, the UK Government announced a withdrawal agreement had been reached with the EU. The agreement consisted of three parts and one such part related to the Trade & Co-Operation Agreement which covered economic and security co-operation. Within this part it set out the provisions for the future development of Employment Law rights in the UK. In brief, the Trade & Co-Operation Agreement confirmed both the UK and the EU are committed not to weaken or reduce their labour standards, so there should be no deterioration in the following;
- Fundamental Rights at Work
- Health and Safety Standards
- Fair Working Conditions
- Consultation Rights
What Are the Practical Implications Of Brexit On Key Employment Law?
The first thing to remember is that there were already existing UK Domestic Legislation which will not be affected by Brexit. For example, a couple of years ago there was the introduction of Shared Parental Leave which is an UK Law.
The second thing to note is that whilst we have now left the EU, this does not mean the laws which were created are no longer applicable in the UK.
I have set out below some of the key legislation which the EU was involved in and how this may look in the future.
The Equality Act 2010, gives wide-ranging protection to individuals who have suffered discrimination. The types of individuals protected are defined by their ‘protected characteristic’ and so this covers discrimination based on that individuals disability, race, religion or belief, sex etc.
It seems unlikely that we shall see any changes to our Discrimination Laws in the UK. There has been some commentators calling for a cap on the amount of compensation awarded to Claimant’s, where their claim/s succeed in the Employment Tribunal. However, time will tell on whether this change will actually be implemented.
Family Related Pay & Leave
The rights to parental and family leave are a mixture of rights from the UK and EU. It seems unlikely that we shall see any changes.
Transfer Of Undertakings
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 provides protection to employees where there has been a transfer of a business to a new employer. The employee retains the right to automatically transfer and retain their contractual entitlements. Presently, there is no discussion of making changes, however, we may see the Government look to make it easier on employers to harmonise the contractual terms following the transfer (which is not currently permitted under EU Law).
Holidays & Working Time
The right to statutory holiday in the UK is very popular and it is generally warmly received by employers too. It is therefore unlikely that we shall see the Working Time Regulations 1998 repealed.
Collective Redundancy Consultation
The minimum time for starting a collective redundancy consultation, where the employer is proposing to dismiss 100 or more is 45 days (the consultation period was reduced a few years ago). It seems unlikely that the government will seek to reduce the consultation period further.
To conclude therefore, time will tell on what changes could be made to our Employment Laws in the future but for now our Employment Laws echo very much the same before we left the EU.
How Can We Help You?
If you have any employment law issues, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Employment Solicitors on 01522 440512 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get in touch with you.
Employment Law Solicitor