What are the implications for employment law in the event of Brexit


21 Jun What are the implications for employment law in the event of Brexit

Much of the debate has focused on immigration, sovereignty and the economy, however what is unclear in the event of BREXIT is what will happen to employment rights in the UK and whether they are at risk or could be dramatically watered down.

EU law is of course the source of many of the UK’s employment rights from TUPE to the Working Time Directive although many of our employment laws were already in place before the United Kingdom’s membership, for example unfair dismissal and redundancy rights.

In the event of BREXIT what type of relationship would the UK have with the EU?

This question has been raised many times during the course of the various debates that have taken place in recent months. No member country has ever left the EU (apart from Greenland when it left the EEC in the 1980’s) and therefore it remains unclear in terms of the type of relationship that will follow.   It is especially unclear whether it will cost more to trade with the EU and its effect on the free movement of people and workers, and those who already live and work in another EU country.

Other European countries who are not part of the EU but who are part of the European Economic Area (EEA), for example Iceland and Norway do business with the EU, and are governed by various rules relating to the principle of the single market and free movement of people and goods.

In relation to the rights of EU nationals working in other EU member states, transitional arrangements would no doubt form part of any negotiations and it is likely that EU nationals already working in the UK would be permitted to stay in return for similar arrangements for UK citizens working in other EU countries. The main issue will be on future immigration into the UK where a points-based system similar to the Australian model has been mooted.

In the event of BREXIT how long would it take the UK to leave the EU?

In the event of BREXIT, it is likely that it will take some time to withdraw from the EU and to negotiate various complexities and the process and eventual date of leaving. The most likely scenario is that it would take a minimum of two years’ for the UK to leave the EU and the fact of withdrawal will need to be ratified with the EU and the terms agreed.  Once again we are stepping into the unknown because it is the first time that a member state will have left the EU.

What are the likely implications for UK employment law?

The current thinking from many lawyers and commentators is that a vote to leave the EU would not have any immediate impact on UK employment law and that many of our current laws both domestic and EU orientated would be retained.  It is likely that it would take some time to formally withdraw as a member of the EU and in that period most employment laws will probably remain unchanged.

Another scenario depends on the UK’s post BREXIT relationship with the EU and whether the UK will be required to retain any EU orientated employment laws in exchange for entering into any trade or other deals. It is also important to remember that many of the employment laws that have originated from the EU for example TUPE have become inherently built into work-place practices and procedures, especially where there is a trade union presence and recognition.  It would also be politically unattractive for any political party to propose dismantling employee and workers’ rights even from businesses who now accept the need for minimum legal standards in the workplace.

Full article and Source: Gardner Leader – click here.

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