Well. I didn't see that coming. But, as a consolation, it
doesn't seem that many others did either.
Much of the employment law and HR practices in the UK are
derived from EU legislation and case law. Does this mean familiar
concepts such as TUPE, holiday and working time provisions,
maternity rights and data protection are headed for a bonfire of
No. Not now. Not soon. And possibly never.
From a lawyer's perspective, Friday 24 June presented
exactly the same legal framework as the day before. The UK is still
a member state of the EU. EU legislation continues to apply (either
with direct effect or through UK legislation enacted to give effect
to EU directives). Decisions of the Court of Justice of the
European Union will still be binding on UK courts.
This position is not going to change anytime soon. A day is a
long time in an HR professional's world. Employment lawyers are
used to giving urgent advice covering the full range of human
idiosyncrasies and faults.
Our earliest exit from the EU looks like being the end of 2018.
This depends on the election of a new Conservative Party leader and
Prime Minister and the immediate triggering of Article 50 of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
There are plenty of commentators who can't see the UK's
government rushing to meet this deadline.
What about in the longer term? Or, put another way, why might HR
practitioners never have to deal with the consequences of last
week's vote? There are two reasons.
The first is that we might not leave the EU in such a way that
restricts our access to the single market. If we decide not to
leave the EU or to leave the EU but retain access to the single
market (e.g. reassuming membership of the European Economic Area
and a status to the EU akin to Norway's current arrangement),
EU employment legislation is likely to still apply.
The second is that the bulk of EU employment laws are transposed
into UK legislation. That means Acts of Parliament and Statutory
Instruments that need to be repealed, amended or replaced. If the
government has embraced a looser trade relationship with the EU, it
is likely that it will have far more pressing issues to deal with
than tinkering with established employment law provisions.
A radical government with a pro-business agenda might attempt to
rip up some of the most egregious regulations. TUPE is top of the
hit list in this respect. But it is difficult to see a government
pushing through a comprehensive range of policies that will
fundamentally strip away workers' employment rights.
In the meantime, the government now has to grapple with the
myriad consequences of the vote. Bertolt Brecht's poem, The
Solution, was written in the aftermath of a failed uprising in East
Berlin in 1953. Its sardonic conclusion may find grim echoes in
Westminster's corridors of power:
"The Secretary of the Authors' Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Which said that the people
Had forfeited the government's confidence
And could only win it back
By redoubled labour. Wouldn't it
Be simpler in that case if the government
Dissolved the people and
There has been a lot of discussion about Millennials in the
post-referendum commentary. As far as HR is concerned, however,
Millennials are yesterday's concern. Recruiters will soon have
to grapple with how to engage, retain and work with Generation
By 2020, Generation Z (on its most generous measure, a label for
those born after 1995) will make up 20% of the workforce. This is a
generation that has lived through monumentally uncertain times.
They are more conservative, pragmatic and risk averse than their
One thing that employers may have the biggest difficulty with is
reward. Passion is a more valued commodity than just money. So, how
will employers recruit and retain this digital native, nomadic and
Agile working? portfolio lives? Time to pursue personal goals
and concerns? Transparency and social responsibility? Are you ready
for Generation Z?
This article was originally published on Thomson
Reuters, July 2016.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The prospect of an internal investigation raises many thorny issues. This presentation will canvass some of the potential triggering events, and discuss how to structure an investigation, retain forensic assistance and manage the inevitable ethical issues that will arise.
From the boardroom to the shop floor, effective organizations recognize the value of having a diverse workplace. This presentation will explore effective strategies to promote diversity, defeat bias and encourage a broader community outlook.
Staying local but going global presents its challenges. Gowling WLG lawyers offer an international roundtable on doing business in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. This three-hour session will videoconference in lawyers from around the world to discuss business and intellectual property hurdles.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).