How Will Employment Law be Affected by Brexit?


The vote to leave the EU in June of this year has left many people concerned about what the future holds for the country, especially when it comes to employment & immigration law. The reason is mainly because many of the employment laws in the UK come from EU law and this could lead to problems. For both employers and employees there is a level of uncertainty, while the government are pushing for a feeling of continuity. The government have attempted to douse any concerns by stating that worker’s rights will not change.

The way in which the government are going to deal with the complicated issues surrounding legislation, once Article 50 has been triggered, will effectively result in very little change. In fact, those who pushed for Brexit could seek to implement new, radical changes to employment law that would work in a positive way.

The Great Repeal Bill was announced in October 2016 and it will come into force once Article 50 has been triggered, working in two ways. The first is a repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, with the second having an impact on employment law. When the bill becomes a reality, any EU legislation currently in place will be enshrined in UK law and this will give the government the opportunity to either retain, alter or repeal the certain parts of the law at their own free will. Essentially, the Repeal bill will ensure that the laws continue without any changes and so, it was created by the government to ease the demands of those who were happy to leave the EU. It will ensure that there isn’t likely to be any legislative problems following the repeal of EU legislation.

However, there could be a few problems to arise from this. The first is linked to those who want a quick repeal of laws that they deem to be unnecessary, and this could include employment rights. There are also certain individuals, such as the former chairman of the Conservative Party, who are pushing for a Sunset Clause that will mean that any laws that come from the EU would be removed after five years from UK law.

The next issue is the decision made by the High court that would prohibit the government from starting exit negotiations from the EU without the correct approval from parliament. It is likely that an appeal will come from the government and it will be made to the Supreme Court and so the outcome of this ruling will not be seen yet. The government are determined to remain in control of the process and so, the forcing of the exit negotiations could result in a delay in the trigger of Article 50.

The most recent development is likely to impact employment law as any changes would be carried out at a slower pace and it seems as though both sides who are debating the issue are beginning to stand firm. However, it is unlikely that any changes will be seen immediately, but in the long term is likely that the impact of the referendum will be determined by politics.


Gill Laing is a qualified Legal Researcher & Analyst with niche specialisms in Law, Tax, Human Resources, Immigration & Employment Law.

Gill is a Multiple Business Owner and the Managing Director of Prof Services - a Marketing Agency for the Professional Services Sector.

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