SUMMARY: No one can know exactly what the consequences will be, but below are some of the areas we consider are likely to be affected.
What does the decision to leave the EU mean for employment law? This remains a personal view, as no one can know exactly what the consequences of the leave vote will be. It may be that nothing significant changes immediately (as EU laws form part of UK law), but the lack of a requirement to comply with EU law in the future is likely to shape future legislation and may lead to a reduction in workers’ rights. Here are some of the areas that we consider are likely to change in the foreseeable future:
1. Discrimination – A cap may be applied to compensation for discrimination claims; successful claimants can in theory be awarded uncapped compensation at present. One of the most extreme examples of this is when a doctor was awarded £4.5m for successful sex and race discrimination and unfair dismissal claims in 2011.
2. Working Time – There may be amendments in relation to the Working Time Regulations so that there is a less onerous burden for employers. This is relevant in relation to holiday, rest breaks and rest periods and the 48 hour working week. It may be that legislation will be introduced permitting workers to completely opt out of the Working Time Regulations.
3. Agency workers – There may be changes in relation to the protection which agency workers currently enjoy. The Directive from the EU in relation to agency workers was not a popular piece of legislation and (amongst other things) requires employers to provide equal basic working and employment conditions for agency workers after 12 weeks’ work.
4. Data protection – There will need to be some discussion about the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in May 2018, just before the earliest time (2 years) Britain can exit the EU. This will replace the existing Data Protection Act and related legislation. If Britain is to continue to trade with the EU, it will be expected to have minimum standards in place.
5. Redundancy consultation – There may be reduced redundancy collective consultation requirements. For example, the timescales for consultation may be shortened and/or the threshold for the number of employees to trigger the need to collectively consult may increase from 20 to, for example, 100 employees.
6. Immigration – There are likely to be immigration controls introduced for workers coming from the EU and entering the EU from Britain.
We will keep you updated as any changes are announced.
If you have queries on the above areas, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
+44 (0) 808 172 93 22
This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.