The Leave vote means that the UK Government will, from a designated point in the future, no longer be bound by the restrictions of European law which has governed a significant part of UK law for so long.
In practice this means that current employment law which was introduced could be removed completely or amended so that it still exists but provides entitlements less advantageous than those that the EU allows.
An example of change – Working Time Regulations 1998
These were introduced to bring into effect into Great Britain Europe’s Working Time Directive. The Directive stipulated that all EU member states must provide a minimum level of paid annual leave to workers of 4 weeks.
When the Regulations were introduced in 1998, the minimum 4 week annual leave entitlement was implemented, however, by 2009, entitlement had been increased to 5.6 weeks. This therefore substantially exceeds the minimum 4 week EU floor. Because of this, it is difficult to see that the UK Government will reduce leave entitlement back down to below 4 weeks when it was deemed appropriate to increase to 5.6 weeks.
A more likely scenario…
What is more likely to happen is a removal of the impact of some of the case law relating to annual leave e.g. rulings that mean annual leave continues to accrue during periods of sickness absence. Additionally, recent case law regarding the inclusion of commission and overtime payments in holiday pay is likely to be removed.
Other areas which may face change
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will probably be repealed; they have been unpopular since their introduction and do not carry much trade union support.
Large redundancy procedures may also be targeted, particularly at the lower end of the scale. Currently, employers must follow collective consultation procedures when proposing 20 or more redundancies at one establishment in 90 days or less, including a minimum consultation period of 30 days. The minimum consultation period increases to 45 days when 100 or more redundancies are proposed. It is possible that collective consultation obligations will be removed for anything under 100 proposed redundancies.
This is, of course, only informed conjecture at this stage, and it is impossible to understand exactly how the EU exit will impact on GB employment laws until the exit negotiations unfold, and more so, after the exit when the Government is free to make changes as it wishes.
For further assistance please call our Peninsula Brexit Employer Helpline on 0844 728 0139.