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24 June 2016 Latest

What does the EU Exit mean for employment law?

Following the Referendum vote on the 23rd June 2016, to leave the European Union. There has been much media coverage concerning the political fallout within our government. In the midst of all this very little guidance has been issued to allay the concerns of employers and the impact that this will have on our existing employment laws.

So, what does the EU exit mean for employment law?

The simple answer is that nothing is going to change for quite some time as the UK is still bound by all of the treaties for up to two years after invoking Article 50 (essentially giving notice and negotiating exit terms). So we probably have some way to go before there is even the slightest change. If we do eventually leave the EU and, of course, that is still not a certainty there could be some changes to employment law, but probably not as many as you might expect. This morning the Prime Minister said that he would step down in 3 months, before the Conservative Party Conference in October, he said that he would leave the decision when to invoke Article 50 to his successor, so there is certainly no rush towards the EU exit.

Family Friendly policies were instigated by the EU, but the UK has increased maternity allowances etc. beyond what was required, so it is fairly unlikely that any of that will change – shared parental leave for example is a UK policy rather than EU.

The Working Time Regulations stem from EU legislation, but again there is not likely to be too much change. Few employers would expect their staff to work for more than 6 hours without a short break and that is the minimum in the Regulations. The UK has gone further than the EU requirement for 4 weeks annual leave and has replaced that with 5.6 weeks, so I would be very surprised if that changed. One thing that might go is the 48 hour working week, but where that is required the UK already allows an opt out so long as the employee agrees.

There have been a raft of EU court rulings on holiday pay see our previous blogs by clicking here and here. This is where we may get a change as the EU Court rulings would no longer bind the UK Courts, so there is a potential that the new rules that overtime and commission payments etc. must be added to holiday pay may be overturned.

The Transfer of Undertaking Regulations (TUPE) stem from the EU Acquired Rights directive, but again there is unlikely to be any major changes as the UK added to them back in 2006, the so called Gold Plating.

Accepting there there might be some changes it is possible that the discrimination laws could change in that there has long been a lobby for discrimination awards from the employment tribunal to be capped in the same way that unfair dismissal awards are, not possible under the EU rules, but this could be done after the EU exit.

The Agency Worker Regulations might come under the microscope, they have not been popular with agencies or end users and do not seem to be something that the Trade Unions would worry about too much, but of course, this is all simple speculation and any changes are going to be quite a long way off, if they happen at all.

For any advice with regards to employment law call the experts at Premier Legal on the head office number: 0115 988 6211 where we will be pleased to help you.

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