The result of the UK referendum in June 2016 determined that the UK should not stay in the European Union (EU).
What does this mean for UK employment law?
The short answer is that that the immediate impact would be hardly noticeable because existing laws will remain in place. It is highly unlikely that there would be an instant overhaul of EU derived law on departure from the EU. If changes are to take place this is likely to be on a more piecemeal basis.
Although some of our employment law does derive from the EU, an awful lot of employment law is self-generated. For example:
• The UK already had laws in place to protect and avoid discrimination before the EU made it mandatory.
• The UK provides a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday to employees, compared to only 4 weeks provided by the EU.
Some commentators believe that we could see changes in the following areas of EU derived employment law:
• Abolishing the maximum 48 hour week rule.
• Increasing the minimum number of employees (currently 20) affected before the requirement for collective redundancy consultation kicks in.
• Slackening consultation requirements in a TUPE* transfer.
• Allowing harmonisation of terms post TUPE* transfer.
• Limiting a week’s pay when calculating holiday pay to basic pay only (not commission and overtime).
• Removal of right to accrue holiday pay when on long term sick leave.
However, it is considered unlikely that we will see changes in family friendly rights or discrimination.
Whilst leaving the EU will give the UK Government the freedom to decide which laws to keep or remove, many factors will need to be considered before we see changes to employment law. For example:
• Due to cultural reasons, much EU derived employment law fits with what is desired in the modern work place in the UK.
• Due to some trade agreements, it is likely that there would be a requirement that UK employment law remains as favourable as EU law in order for agreements to continue.
• Changes to the law take time and are normally resisted as they could result in confusion for UK employers.
Employers will therefore need to ‘watch this space’ with interest, with WBW’s employment team keeping you updated with any developments.
*Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations 2006.
This note reflects the law of the data publication which is 24 June 2016. The content of this notice for general information only. Nothing in this note constitutes legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on the specific problem or matter.
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