You'd be forgiven for hoping that you'd open this
month's newsletter and see no mention of Brexit. But this is
something that's not going away, and given how important it
will be to the future of the UK, it would be remiss of us not to
mention it in our first newsletter since the big decision was
When it comes to employment law, the question on everyone's
lips is: will it really matter?
As was often repeated by the Remain campaign in the build-up to
the referendum, much of UK employment law does indeed derive from
the European Union (EU). The list includes: protection against
discrimination; family friendly rights; protection of employment on
the transfer of an undertaking (TUPE); collective consultation
obligations; rights for agency workers; limits on working time and
the right to paid holiday. On first glance, the implications of
Brexit on UK employment law do look a little scary.
However, the fact is that in most of these areas (except for
working time, collective consultation and rights for agency
workers), UK employment protections either pre-dated or have
'gold-plated' EU law. For example, there was also
protection in the UK against discrimination on the grounds of race,
sex and disability before the EU Equal Treatment Directive. Women
in the UK returning from maternity leave were entitled to come back
to the same job before EU legislation weighed in. In the UK,
mothers are entitled to take up to 52 weeks' maternity leave
(if they take both ordinary and additional leave) – the EU
minimum requirement is for just 14 weeks. The EU Working Time
Directive requires member states to pass legislation entitling
workers to a minimum of 20 days' paid annual leave – in
the UK, we have at least 28 days. A further example is found in
TUPE – the concept of a service provision change (which
relates to outsourcing arrangements) isn't found anywhere in
the EU Acquired Rights Directive – it's a UK
If we look again at those family friendly rights, the concept of
shared parental leave is a UK legislative creation. The government
has announced plans to extend the right to this kind of leave to
grandparents. Whatever the uptake of shared parental leave (which
is believed to be low) and, should it be implemented, shared
grandparental leave (which will surely be lower), it is clear that
the UK is trying to offer rights to support working families, not
take rights away from them. Leaving the EU is unlikely to change
Where we are most likely to see changes is in how the Courts
interpret employment legislation. Depending on the terms of the
exit from the EU the UK is able to negotiate, the decisions of the
European Court of Justice (ECJ) may no longer be binding on the UK.
This means that in future it would, for example, be open to the UK
Courts to determine whether holiday pay is limited to basic pay or
should include commission payments and (for employees with normal
working hours) overtime. We could, therefore, see the nuances of UK
employment law develop in quite a different way from the ECJ case
There is of course a risk that a future government might want to
substantially dilute UK employment rights, and Brexit will make
this more of a possibility. However, as the result of the
referendum has shown, we live in a democracy (for better or for
worse). With that in mind, no government would dilute employment
rights substantially (if at all) if they wanted to stay in
So, when it comes to employment law, will Brexit matter?
Probably not that much. Although the true answer remains that, for
now (and probably for quite some time to come), we just don't
For a more in-depth analysis of the likely implications of
Brexit (from an employment and immigration point of view) please
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A
top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm
is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent
and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways.
Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the
communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows
that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully
completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business
challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons'
global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local,
national and global needs of private and public clients of any size
in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.
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.
You are cordially invited to our workshop on processing of employees’ personal data in light of the new EU Regulation on Personal Data Protection (GDPR). The meeting is organized by Dentons together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland.
Dentons will hold a Competition Breakfast Seminar on February 28, 2017 titled: Rebates and discounts under EU competition law – lessons of the Intel case. Renowned competition lawyer James Venit from Dentons’ Brussels office will be joining co-heads Tihamér Tóth and Tünde Gönczöl of Dentons Budapest’s
You are cordially invited to a practical seminar on private antitrust enforcement in light of the soon to be implemented Damages Directive, which we address to the banking and finance sector. During the seminar we will present new tools designed for cartel damages litigation in light of fast forwarding the legislative process in Poland from a lawyer’s and an economist’s perspective. We will discuss examples of private antitrust litigation from a jurisdiction where the system is already effective and consider whether third party litigation funding is an option in Poland. All these points will help you identify potential claims against other market players and prepare a defense strategy against private enforcement claims targeting your institution.
Everyone has sympathy for employees who are genuinely unwell. When advising employers about employees suffering from stress, various medical conditions and resultant absence, it is these words that come up again and again.
In our article published in HR Zone, we consider the introduction of the new rules on regulatory references which come into force on 7 March 2017 and the practical steps that employers must take to comply...
Most of us know the difference between being employed and being self-employed (or at least we think we do). And in everyday laymen's terms, the difference is relatively straightforward and obvious – if you are employed, you work for someone else and, if you are self-employed, you ‘work for yourself'.
This coming year looks to be another busy one with more significant employment law changes coming into force and we have highlighted some of the key changes, which range from the introduction of gender pay...
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).