As the dust settles on the outcome of the EU referendum, employers may be wondering about the employment law implications of the decision. Find out what is expected…
There is no doubt that our employment laws have been heavily influenced by EU Directives such as discrimination, working time, TUPE, family friendly laws, part-time and fixed-term workers, agency workers and collective consultation rights. We summarise below the initial thoughts surrounding what might change:
*The minimum wage is British and regulations are not required by European law. The UK National Minimum Wage is significantly higher than that in similar European systems and the UK Government recently introduced the National Living Wage therefore it is not expected that any change will occur to this.
* Legislation relating to unfair dismissals and tribunals will almost certainly remain the same. Much of it did not originate from the EU in any case – for example the fees system.
* It is not expected that change will occur to discrimination or family friendly legislation.
* TUPE legislation is largely expected to remain untouched as UK organisations find the service provision elements of TUPE helpful.
* It is possible that the Fixed Term and Part Time Workers directive may be updated as it is felt that protection for “workers” rather than employee stretches too far.
Agency Workers legislation is likely to change as this particular protection is not popular. It is possible that the legislation could be repealed or at the very least, diluted.
* The Working Time Regulations (1998) has long been a point of contention with politicians campaigning for the UK to opt out. They influence weekly working hours, rest periods, paid annual leave and extra protection for night workers. It is likely that these will change – and in particular in respect of holiday pay and what should be included in its calculation. It is possible that the UK will seek to minimise payments to be included in holiday pay such as commission, overtime and bonuses.
* There is a feeling that some amendments may be made to the need to collectively consult in situations such as redundancy and TUPE as the consultation obligations are felt to be unwieldy currently.
* Leaving the EU calls into question the position of UK nationals living and working in Europe as well as EU citizens working in the UK. The EU will be able to decide the terms on which it will allow British nationals to work in the EU but it is expected that the UK will negotiate separate trade agreements with individual countries, allowing both UK and EU nationals to work flexibly.
There should be some comfort in the fact that there does not seem to be any appetite for an overhaul of UK employment law following Brexit. UK and EU employment law principles are generally aligned which means it unlikely that significant change will occur any time soon.