BREXIT – The Employment Law Implications

24th June 2016


Since the decision of the referendum was announced on Friday 24th June 2016, there has been considerable speculation concerning the impact it will have on not only us as a nation, but also to us individually.

The government will now go through a rigorous process of negotiating an exit deal with the 27 remaining member states. The decisions of these negotiations will be crucial. We cannot predict the outcome of any potential deals with the EU and the impact will certainly depend on which model is ultimately chosen. There will be no immediate impact as these negotiations are likely to take at least two years, if not longer.

TUPE will remain a binding part of UK legislation. We have implemented the EU implications into our regulations and therefore leaving the EU does not repeal TUPE. We may see some tweaking however, specifically with regards to allowing post-termination harmonisation of terms and conditions which we currently cannot do due to European case law.

The redundancy consultation laws which currently require a collective redundancy process for over 20 employees stems from an EU derivative. There is likely to be a change to these provisions as they are highly unpopular with employers, and may increase to a much larger group of employees.

The Agency Worker Regulations implement the EU Temporary Agency Workers Directive, which requires employers to offer equal terms benefits to agency workers after 12 weeks employment. We may also see a change in such regulations which will probably be repealed as they are again hugely unpopular with both employers and trade unions.

The 2006 EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive currently binds the UK. As a result, the UK introduced protected characteristics which included belief and religion. Considering we already legislated on various characteristics including sex and race, is it unlikely that any of the current protected characteristics will be changed. The EU however, did restrict the UK from putting a cap on the compensation for discrimination claims similar to unfair dismissal. There is no indication that such restrictions may be changed but it is an option now that we are not bound by EU regulations.

Like other areas, the changes to employment laws are unpredictable and only time will tell as to what changes will be implemented. It is unlikely that the UK will seek to fully repeal existing laws which implement the minimum EU requirements but these are some areas which seem more probable of change.