With the impending 31 October 2019 deadline for Brexit fast approaching, many commentators have been considering the potential impact of a departure from the EU on this date on employment law and employee and worker rights.
The government has shown appetite for implementing changes to employment rights in recent years; from the repeal of the statutory code for disciplinary and grievances, to the increase of the minimum continuous service required to bring a claim for unfair dismissal from one years to two years and the introduction (and subsequent repeal) of fees to bring a claim in the employment tribunal.
Many employment rights are derived from European legislation; such as protection against discrimination, the protection of employment in a business transfer (TUPE) and the right to paid holidays, to name but a few.
However, it is important to understand that, aside from a possible immediate effect on rights to work in the UK, an exit from the European Union will not automatically repeal those employment rights that are derived from European legislation. This is not to say that a post-Brexit government will not address employee and worker rights at some point but what may change is difficult to predict and will depend on the makeup of any post-Brexit government.
It is also important to remember that many statutory rights are written into employment contracts and therefore, any repeals could have negative and confusing effects on businesses in terms of understanding, implementing and balancing legal and contractual positions in the event of any change. As such, it is hopeful that any changes to employment rights are implemented only after consultation with industry, trade unions and professional bodies.