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Brexit Bonfire Bill & Retained EU Employment Law

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Employment law could soon be all about interpretation, recently the government announced it was not having a total ‘Brexit bonfire’ but instead reducing the number of laws set to be removed from the statute books, but at the same time removing the rule that sets out how laws are interpreted.

“We could have in this case a system whereby the precedents set by courts and employment tribunals over the past 47 years on which our employment laws are based thrown up in the air, and it’s all left to individual interpretation,” warned Partner and Employment Law Solicitor, at Pearson, Susan Mayall.

“It’s challenging running a business and times are tough for many SMEs and employees,; for staff it leaves them vulnerable to the vagaries of their employers.”

“We have ‘Europe’ to thank for some of our more progressive employment rights such as; working time, paid holidays and equality of treatment for part-time and fixed-term workers.”

“Whilst I am glad that many of these rights are to be retained, if interpretation is the way forward, this could of course, lead to legal uncertainty for all and it will be of no benefit to the employer or the employee,” she added.

Retained EU Law Bill

Post Brexit, the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill (also known as the sunset clause) stated an intention to remove all EU legislation from the UK by the end of 2023.  This was of course, a concern for employers and employees as many of the rights we have come to expect in the workplace are based on EU law.

The UK Government has now stated that fewer than 600 laws will be revoked under the bill instead of the 4,000 or so initially pledged and as far as employment law is concerned, EU law will remain binding in the UK unless it is expressly repealed.

Employment Law Measures for Businesses

At the same time, a raft of employment law measures has recently been proposed to try and assist businesses, These include:

  • Removing reporting requirements for all staff from the Working Time Regulations 1998 and making holiday pay and annual leave adjustments.
  • Further changes are also proposed for TUPE, which will affect many SMEs. Here the proposal is to remove employee representation for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and transfers affecting less than 10 employees.  Employees will then be consulted directly.
  • Finally, the proposal is non-compete clauses will be limited to 3 months. This has a twofold effect: the three-month period does to some extent protect owners who have invested in their staff, but at the same time, having a three-month limit does not handcuff employees into their role or indeed impede staff from looking out for better paid jobs and allows for flexibility and movement within the jobs market.

“As always employment law is constantly shifting, I keep my employer clients up to date with any changes as they happen and as they are relevant to them.  But at the same time this means when employees come to us with employment issues we are well placed to advise accordingly.  Once again, in employment law, it is a case of time will tell and we await what the UK Government proposes towards the end of the year,” said Susan Mayall.

How can we help

If you are an employee and have an issue with your employer contact our employee law solicitors on 0161 785 3500 for legal advice. Alternatively, if you own a business and need legal advice our specialist business employment law solicitors can help.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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    Written by Susan Mayall