Richard Porter who leads the TSP Employment team discussed the implication of BREXIT on UK Employment Law.
Leaving the EU is unlikely to make an immediate difference because all applicable EU Directives have already been incorporated into UK Law. We have wide ranging health and safety laws, the Equality Act 2010 which prohibits unlawful discrimination, the Working Time Regulations providing for paid holiday, protection for agency workers, fixed term and part time staff and protection for employees on the transfer of businesses under TUPE – all of which are binding in UK law.
Our former EU partners are unlikely to enter into trade agreements with us if we undercut them by allowing businesses to employ workers on less onerous (and thus cheaper) terms which may undercut their businesses.
We are therefore likely to have to retain the overall structure that is currently in place if we wish to enter into trade agreements with our former partners.
We are, however, likely to have the ability to make changes within the structures to suit our domestic needs.
What may happen:
- Equality Law: We have good anti-discrimination law and there is unlikely to be any appetite to reduce any of the protections provided by the Equality Act 2010, however some commentators predict that the maximum award for discrimination may be capped to bring it into line with Unfair Dismissal legislation.
- Family Friendly Law: We already go over and above the EU requirements in family friendly law for example 52 weeks maternity leave and shared parental leave. There is unlikely to be any change in this area.
- The Working Time Regulations providing for paid holiday will remain. Indeed the UK has gone beyond the European minimum by providing for 5.6 weeks paid holiday rather then the European 4 weeks. However there may be changes to the rules about accruing holiday entitlement during long term sick leave, and the way holiday pay is calculated – restricting it to basic pay rather than “normal weekly remuneration”. The maximum average working week of 48 hours may be abolished – it has always been unpopular.
- TUPE is likely to remain, but could be modified to allow post transfer harmonisation of terms and conditions (currently prohibited if it is due to the transfer) and a relaxation of some of the consultation provisions.
- The Agency Worker Regulations which require agency workers to be offered equal terms and benefits after 12 weeks are likely to be repealed;
- The collective redundancy consultation rules (where 20 or more redundancies occur within 90 days), which are unpopular with employers may be relaxed;
Richard can be contacted on 01206 217027 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org