Written by Susan Barker, HR Consultant, Alcumus
After the vote has been cast for the UK to leave the EU, there are areas of employment legislation which are likely to change and have an effect on both employers and workers alike. Time will tell how these changes unfold but here are a few areas to consider:
The following are areas that are unlikely to change:
National Minimum Wage
This piece of legislation is not required by European Law and is very much a “British” concept. In addition to this, the level of UK minimum wage is higher than those in similar European systems. This is very much a British idea and regulations are not required by European law.
Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE)
The UK has gone further than the EU in terms of TUPE and when it applies, so there are unlikely to be any major changes. However it is likely that there will be at the very least some minor amendments, for example there may be a relaxation of consultation provisions, and probably allowing post-transfer harmonisation of terms and conditions (which is currently not allowed now because of a European case called Daddy’s Dance Hall).
Unfair dismissal and tribunals
Legislation relating to unfair dismissals and tribunals will almost certainly remain the same. Much of legislation in this area did not originate from the EU, for example the fees system which was introduced to stop spurious claims.
The UK already had legislated to prohibit sex discrimination, race discrimination and disability discrimination (and others) long before Europe required us to do so, therefore it is unlikely that there will be any significant changes. Although there was a call a few years ago for discrimination compensation to be capped (as unfair dismissal compensation is capped) however that couldn’t be done, because our membership of the EU forbade it. If there is another such call there will be no such impediment.
Family Friendly legislation such as Maternity, Parental, Paternity Leave, is unlikely to change or reduce as we already exceed EU rights considerably, for example 52 weeks maternity.
The areas which are likely to change are:
Working Time Regulations (WTR)
The Working Time Regulations (1998) have been a bone of contention for a number of politicians and employers alike, with there being campaigns for the UK to opt out of this large piece of legislation. The WTR influence weekly working hours, rest periods, paid annual leave and extra protection for night workers. While it’s difficult to say how each of these points will be affected, it’s more than likely that they will be significantly restructured but it is unlikely that they will be completely repealed.
Paid holiday will certainly stay but it is likely that legislation will be passed to reverse some of the holiday time cases, for example accruing holiday during long-term sick leave. For employers this may be very good news, perhaps not so much for the workers.
It is also suspected that a ‘weeks pay’, which currently includes commission and overtime following ECJ rulings, will be taken back to the position it was a few years ago, with just basic salary being paid as holiday pay. Again perhaps not a bad thing from the employers perspective and budgets, but not so much for the workers who have been receiving this higher level of holiday pay.
Agency Worker’s Rights (AWR)
There is a very high expectation that this piece of legislation will be almost top of the agenda to be repealed or at the very least significantly amended. The AWR was introduced to comply with the EU’s agency workers’ directive and is almost universally unpopular.