October 3, 2016

Employment rights – the impact of Brexit

Theresa May announced at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday that existing workers’ rights will continue to be guaranteed in law as long as she remains Prime Minister. She also said that a Great Repeal Bill will be brought in to end the authority of EU law by repealing the legislation which took Britain into the European Community in 1973. In addition, at the time we leave the EU, existing EU law will be made into British law so that the same rules and laws will apply after Brexit as they did before. There will then be an opportunity for any aspect of that EU law to be scrutinised, and to be changed or removed, by Parliament.

The Clyde & Co Employment Team has produced a useful reference guide for employers on the impact of Brexit on employment rights.  The various different employment rights and responsibilities have been categorised into whether the source is from the EU or not, and the guide sets out what we consider the impact of leaving the EU is likely to be on those rights and responsibilities, including the likelihood of reform in the longer term. Following Theresa May's announcement guaranteeing all existing workers' rights it is unlikely that any of the potential reforms outlined in our guide will be introduced while she is Prime Minister.

We have broken employment law down into the various different rights and responsibilities and for each, have analysed whether the source is from the EU or not; and then considered what the impact of leaving the EU is likely to be on those rights and responsibilities, including the likelihood of reform.

The two areas of employment law that we consider are most likely to be affected by Brexit are:

  • TUPE there may be changes to rules on penalties for failure to inform and consult and it may become easier to harmonise terms post-transfer and
  • Agency Worker Regulations these regulations are complex and unpopular and are likely to be a target for reform