Sunset Bill threatens vulnerable workers, according to the Work Foundation

Government plans to complete the “sunsetting” of hundreds of EU laws by the end of 2023 will put the rights and protections of more than 8.6 million UK workers at risk, according to the Work Foundation. New analysis from the Work Foundation at Lancaster University has revealed that workers on part-time, fixed-term or agency worker contracts will be most at risk if the Government presses ahead with plans to amend, replace or scrap thousands of pieces of retained EU legislation by 31 December without greater parliamentary scrutiny.

Working time directives and entitlement to paid holiday are amongst the rules that could be weakened as a result of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022, including agency workers, part-time workers and those on fixed-term contracts. Women are likely to bear the brunt of this additional anxiety as they make up the majority of part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, according to the Work Foundation.

The Work Foundation points out that many fundamental workers’ rights embedded in UK legislation originate from the EU, including:

  • holiday pay
  • protection of pregnant workers, and rights to maternity and parental leave
  • rights relating to working time, including rights to daily and weekly rest, maximum weekly working time, paid annual leave and measures to protect night workers
  • protection of part-time and fixed-term workers
  • agency worker rights
  • data protection rights
  • protections of terms and conditions for workers whose employment is transferred to another employer
  • collective consultation with worker representatives when redundancies are proposed
  • protection of workers’ rights on the insolvency of their employer
  • rights to a written statement of terms and conditions.

The Foundation is urging the Government to consider the implications of these rights and to act swiftly to put in place the necessary protection for these vulnerable employees.

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