Government rethinks Retained EU Law Bill following lack of support

  • Business Advice
EU Flag
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

The UK government has dropped their immediate plans to ditch a raft of EU laws, including vital health and safety regulations and well established employment laws

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REUL) has been opposed by many industry experts, including the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the British Safety Council, and more.

Originally, REUL was announced to revoke 2,417 pieces of legislation deemed unnecessary by the Government. Further investigation established that another 1,400 laws were unaccounted for and would expire automatically by 2023 without further legislative action.

Included in the review was health and safety regulations derived from EU, including some of the key framework regulations:

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – including risk assessment and 'Competent Person' requirements
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
  • Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (amended in 2022)

Employment rights and regulations that were to be part of the review include:

  • The Working Time Regulations 1998 which provides for minimum paid annual leave and rest periods
  • The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 which protect employee terms and conditions when their business is bought out
  • The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 which give temporary agency workers rights to equal treatment.

The UK’s data protection rules, implemented under GDPR in 2018, would also be included in the review.

The Bill had passed its third reading in the House of Commons and was set to go to the House of Lords before it became apparent that it would face a mass cross-party revolt from peers. REUL had already faced large-scale opposition from business, environmental groups, unions and health and safety experts.

A key complaint against the Bill is the way it intended to cut both House of Parliament out of decisions on which EU laws should be revoked. These powers would instead be ceded to civil servants and ministers within Government, effectively bypassing the legislative process.

Figures from across the political spectrum have weighed in against the Bill, including Conservative peer Baroness Altmann, who said:

““I’ve watched in horror in the last few years the stripping away of norms. The idea we should throw our laws into a big hat, pull out a few, change a few, and throw the rest away, without even knowing which, cannot be the way to run a country.”

Lord Hendy, a barrister and leading expert in UK labour law, also remarked:

“Most employment rights to health and safety are EU law. All a minister has to do is sit on his hands and all these vital protections, hitherto enjoyed by our 30 million workers will disappear in a puff of smoke without parliamentary scrutiny. That’s unacceptable and it also appears to be a flouting of the obligations we undertook to maintain and implement health and safety laws.”

Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement at IOSH, welcomed the move to delay the Bill and consider possible concessions:

“While it is encouraging that stakeholder voices appear to be registering at high levels within government, it remains essential that the health and safety case continues to be clearly made.

“Policymakers must heed concerns and act to ensure life-saving protections are retained and strengthened. This will not only save lives and livelihoods, it will also help support productivity, inclusivity and responsible trade and investment.”

For more information on the impact of the EU law review, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Could the Government actually remove paid annual leave?

Read more from the latest BrAInbox Business News update:

Dentist worker loses £36k furlough case

450 directors banned for Covid fraud

CFOs more optimistic at growth prospects

SMEs owed £68k on average by suppliers

Related articles

  • A construction worker holding a hard hat wearing a hi vis jacket


    Asbestos conman ordered to pay back £82,100

    A conman who toured England to deceive customers over the disposal of harmful asbestos has been ordered to pay back £82,100.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Business Advice
  • Blog

    Asbestos conman ordered to pay back £82,100

    A conman who toured England to deceive customers over the disposal of harmful asbestos has been ordered to pay back £82,100.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Business Advice
  • A car being filled with petrol


    HMRC advisory fuel rates for company car users from 1 June 2023

    HMRC has published the latest advisory fuel rates (AFR) for company car users, effective from 1 June 2023, cutting diesel rates

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Business Advice
Back to resource hub

Try Peninsula for free today

See for yourself why Peninsula is the UK’s favourite HR and health & safety provider. Tap below to unlock free advice, policies, e-learning, and more.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.

International sites

© 2023 Peninsula Business Services Limited. Registered Office: The Peninsula, Victoria Place, Manchester, M4 4FB. Registered in England and Wales No: 1702759. Peninsula Business Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the sale of non-investment insurance contracts.

ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited company.
The Sunday Times - Top Track 250.
Glassdoor 2018 Best Places To Work.