The immediate and direct consequences of Brexit on UK employment law are likely to be relatively limited, whether we leave with a deal or without one.
A huge number of key employment law rights come from UK legislation – unfair dismissal, minimum wage, redundancy pay and flexible working, to name a few. Other employment laws which started out in the EU (including working time, holiday pay, collective redundancy, TUPE and agency worker rights) will be automatically transposed into UK law on Brexit and it will take positive action within parliament to vary or set aside any of those laws. Whilst the government has indicated its intention to ensure that UK workers’ rights keep pace with their EU equivalents, we believe that there may be a divergence over time. The changes we feel are most likely to be lobbied for are those which place a disproportionately heavy burden on employers, including the restriction on changing employment terms after a TUPE transfer, the right for employees to carry forward holiday entitlement whilst off sick or on maternity leave, collective consultation rights and rights enjoyed by agency workers.
If you have tended to recruit workers from the EU or EEA then the new immigration regime could have a significant impact. EU staff currently in the UK should be encouraged to apply for Settled Status and those arriving after Brexit need to know about their rights to work here, either temporarily or under the new skills-based immigration system.
All that said, our view is that the real elephant in the room is the impact of Brexit on the economic and political stability of our economy. We’re encouraging our employer clients to position themselves as sustainable modern employers, able to attract and retain staff through agile working practices, but also able to act quickly in challenging times and to restructure and re-shape when it’s needed. Often a review of contractual terms and working practices, can give employers critical flexibility.
If you want to make sure that you’re as future proof an employer as possible then please give us a call, we’re happy to fix a time to chat things through over a coffee or two.