Published: 23 January 2017
In two months’ time, the government has promised to serve notice of withdrawal under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union which will result in EU Treaties ceasing to apply to the UK after two years (or earlier, by agreement with the European Council). The government has also announced the "Great Repeal Bill" which will be put before Parliament in May this year and will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 that currently gives EU law direct effect in the UK and primacy over UK law.
Pre-June 2016, it was widely anticipated that Brexit would mean changes to UK Employment Laws which stem from Europe, including minimum wage requirements, certain rest break and holiday rights, TUPE, many aspects of discrimination law, collective redundancy requirements and the much-loathed Agency Workers Regulations 2010.
Since the UK voted to leave the EU on 23 June last year, however, the government has been denied that workers' rights will be eroded, with the prime minister claiming that they will instead be “protected and enhanced”.
Last week, our Jennifer Sole attended a seminar presented by BEIS detailing government plans and priorities for Employment Law in 2017. The talk centred around the government-commissioned review of modern employment practices (to be published June 2017), trade union strike laws (currently being debated in Parliament), reform of the Employment Tribunal system (in respect of which Jennifer is contributing to government consultations with the Employment Lawyers’ Association) and preparing for Brexit. In respect of Brexit, the audience was advised that “the only changes that are to be made” will be “small” and “technical” relating to references to EU directives and cross-border application; “there will be no amendments of substance in 2017”. Let’s watch this space!