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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Will leaving the EU change employment law?

Date: Monday 27 June 2016

It is very unlikely that the exit from the EU will cause widespread changes to employment law quickly, the majority of the employment law we have that comes ,from the EU will still form part of UK law unless and until it was amended or repealed.

This is because legislation from Brussels comes to us in two main formats: regulations and directives. Regulations made in the EU are directly applicable and ,automatically binding in the UK from the day they are made.

Regulations in this field are comparatively rare, the majority of EU law relating to employment comes to us as directives, which contain objectives to be ,achieved by a given date. The individual member states must then draw up national legislation to conform with the directive within a certain time frame. In ,the UK, directives are usually implemented by statutory instruments and occasionally by Acts. ,

In recent years, the Coalition and Conservative Governments have been trying to remove what they call &ldquo,gold-plating&rdquo, of legislation &ndash, removing from the ,statute book those aspects of employee protection that go further than the basic objectives required by the original EU directives. These provisions were ,largely implemented by the previous Labour Governments.

For example, the Working Time Directive gives full time workers 20 days of paid annual leave, while the UK Working Time Regulations provide an entitlement to ,28 days. The TUPE regulations also go beyond what the EU requires, with the addition of the concept of a service provision change, as do the Agency Workers ,Regulations.

It is likely that when the UK does leave the EU, this gradual process of amendment and/or repeal would continue and could be significant, being dictated by ,the political aims of whichever political party is in power. Areas likely to be the focus for change include agency worker rights, annual leave, collective ,redundancy, discrimination legislation, part-time worker rights, fixed-term worker rights, paternity, maternity and parental leave, and protection of ,employment following the transfer of an undertaking.

An immediate large scale repeal of the employment laws that originated in Brussels is very unlikely, as that would cause massive disruption and cost. The ,impact on employers of a restriction on the free movement of workers is likely to be much more immediate however. ,