Kate Shawcross from our employment team takes a look at some of the big questions regarding employment law and Brexit below:
Will employment law derived from EU legislation continue to apply?
Yes. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (‘EUWA’) ensures that any secondary legislation which has been introduced under powers granted by the European Communities Act 1972 (‘ECA’) (such as, for example, TUPE), will remain in force. Other laws are primary legislation (such as the Equality Act 2010), and will remain in force until repealed.
What happens under the Withdrawal Agreement?
For employment law, the EUWA and the draft Withdrawal Agreement mean that, in practice, Brexit will take effect at the end of the transition period (31 December 2020), rather than on 29 March 2019 when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Even then, in light of the EUWA, most EU legislation will remain applicable in the UK, unless and until amended by the appropriate UK legislative body in the same manner as it would do irrespective of Brexit.
What if there’s a “no deal” Brexit?
The government has published a technical notice on workplace rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Workers in the UK will continue to be entitled to their existing rights, except that there may be changes in relation to:
- employees’ rights on insolvency: employees may not be protected in the event of their employer’s insolvency;
- European Works Councils: there will no longer be reciprocal arrangements between the UK and EU
How will freedom of movement of workers be affected?
Following Brexit, EU nationals will no longer have the automatic right to work in the UK. One of the main issues to be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the rights of EU citizens in the UK (and UK citizens in the EU).
The EU Settlement Scheme sets out a new application process, and EU citizens wishing to remain living in the UK after 30 June 2021 must (aside from certain exemptions) apply between 30 March 2019 and 30 June 2021.
Employers should consider making their staff aware of the EU Settlement Scheme, and encourage them to apply.