Brexit: New Year Employment Law Predications

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06 Jan 2018

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The rollercoaster ride of Brexit continues to breed uncertainty for employers but one thing looks clear – we are set to leave the EU on March 29th 2019.

As this deadline fast approaches HR professionals and employment lawyers wait with baited breath to see what impact Brexit will have on their world. In May 2017 Theresa May made the following statement: “Since becoming Prime Minister I have made it clear that I will use the UK’s departure from the EU to strengthen and enhance workers’ rights.” This article explores what employment laws may leave, as well as those that are likely to remain and continue to underpin the world of HR as we know it. Although it’s possible that various laws could be affected by the UK’s departure from Europe it isn’t necessarily the case that they will be. Consequently, the legislation outlined below identifies areas where there is scope to bring about change once the UK is no longer restrained by the chains that bind them to the many EU requirements:

EU legislation: Potential Leavers

Agency Workers Regulations 2010: these burdensome regulations have never been popular among employers who engage agency workers. They give rights, where there once were none, and put responsibilities onto end users which restrict the many advantages of taking on casual agency staff. Equality Act 2010: It has been suggested that post-Brexit the UK will introduce a cap on the level of the maximum award for successful claimants seeing the end of the potential for employers needing to have a blank cheque book at the ready in cases where there has been a breach under the Equality Act. Working Time Regulations 1998: Our departure from the EU could allow the UK to draw a line under the mass of messy case law surrounding the accrual of annual leave during sickness and inclusion of extra elements (e.g. commission) in holiday pay. TUPE: Freedom from Europe may provide for employers to be relieved of the restraints preventing the harmonisation of terms and conditions post transfer… or might that be one change too far?

EU legislation: Potential Remainers

Unfair dismissal: the UK’s protection against unfair dismissal has been around for over 20 years and it has grown from strength to strength, developing with the times and protecting employees from unjustified dismissals, which require employers to follow fair and reasonable procedures. This is unlikely to be going anywhere as we depart from the European Union. Gender pay reporting: Given its young age and media attention gender pay reporting will likely be here to stay. Pension and auto-enrolment: Following a recent announcement to reduce the age of auto enrolment from 22 to 18 and in light of its focus on encouraging people to save for their future this piece of legislation stands firm and has good rooting in employment law. National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage: Minimum basic rates of pay are the cornerstone of employment rights and their annual increments are, for many people, the only guarantee of a pay rise. The truth is that, like many of the wider implications of Brexit, there is no legal crystal ball, meaning that these changes are pure speculation. However, the future is bright and no matter which pieces of legislation prove to be movers and shakers there is scope for change. Once the process of leaving has been identified and the departure process is established, domestic law-makers should have a little more time on their hands, at which point change is sure to come. Croner has been advising businesses on employment law for the past 70 years. If you need any support please contact us on 0808 145 3490.

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