No changes expected in 2020 to existing EU-derived employment rights.


Now that Brexit Day has passed the question of what will happen to employment rights which have their genesis in EU law is once again being asked. It is important to remember that the majority of European Union employment law has been brought into effect by UK legislation, meaning that it will remain in force unless repealed after Brexit.

The effect of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, and the Withdrawal Agreement that it implements, is that for most purposes the UK is treated as if it were still an EU member state until "IP completion day" (11pm on 31 December 2020). During the implementation period, the UK will still be bound by most EU law, including giving effect to employment rights set at an EU level, and indeed will have to implement any new EU laws that require implementation by member states during 2020.

During the passage of the 2020 Act through Parliament, there was some concern that the Government had dropped the protective provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to safeguard existing EU-derived workers' rights in the form of a duty on the Government to consult with unions and employers' organisations and issue, if appropriate, a "non-regression statement" for future employment bills. The Government has since set out its agenda for employment rights during the next Parliamentary session in the Employment Bill which it announced in its Second Queen's speech. To read more about the Second Queen's Speech click here.


As a result of the enactment of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, no changes should be expected in 2020 to any EU-derived employment laws. Whether any changes are made beyond this point is currently speculation.

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