The UK Government has announced it will not be proceeding with plans to ‘sunset’ provisions in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) (REUL) Bill.
The REUL Bill was introduced under Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg with the intention of removing all EU legislation from the UK by the end of 2023. If enacted, the Bill would have repealed all retained EU law from UK statute books by December 2023, with the exception of those laws expressly retained.
Retained EU law will now remain in effect in the UK unless the government expressly repeals or modifies it.
In announcing the revised plans, the business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch stated fewer than 600 laws are to be revoked by the end of the year, rather than the 4,000 initially pledged.
Her statement read: “Over the past year, Whitehall departments have been working hard to identify retained EU law to preserve, reform or revoke.
“However, with the growing volume of REUL being identified, and the risks of legal uncertainty posed by sunsetting instruments made under EU law, it has become clear that the programme was becoming more about reducing legal risk by preserving EU laws than prioritising meaningful reform.
“That is why today I am proposing a new approach: one that will ensure ministers and officials can focus more on reforming REUL, and doing that faster.”
The Government has put forward a number of specific proposals for changes to the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) and the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR).
The WTR are to be amended by allowing rolled-up holiday, which is currently prohibited under EU law; by creating a singe 5.6 week annual leave entitlement by combining the current four weeks’ leave governed by EU rules and the additional 1.6 weeks’ leave governed by domestic rules; and by removing the requirement on employers to record the number of hours worked by employees to ensure that they do not exceed the 48-hour per week limit.
The TUPE provisions will be changed for businesses with under 50 employees that are undergoing a sale or outsourcing that results in the transfer of fewer than ten employees will no longer have to consult with elected employee representatives, but can instead consult directly with affected employees.