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What will be the impact of BREXIT on employment law for businesses in South Lakeland?

[fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]Are South Lakeland businesses going to have to change the way we employ people as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU?

It’s true that a good deal of our employment legislation has been heavily influenced by Brussels, but you might be surprised at how much we in the UK have “done our own thing”.

Some legislation is unlikely to change…..

Whilst the EU has had an effect on many of our employment practices such as maternity and paternity leave, the protection of pregnant workers, action against discrimination, duties to agency, part-time and fixed-term workers, and working time  …… quite a lot of related legislation was either already (at least partly) in place in the UK, (such as equal pay or race and disability discrimination), or has been brought in here, independently of Brussels, (examples being shared parental leave and pay, and the right to request flexible working).

In addition, the UK has, at times, been more generous than the EU. For instance the EU Working Time Directive stipulates that a full-time worker gets 20 days’ paid annual leave, whereas the UK minimum is 28 days (including bank holidays). In addition, flexibility has been a feature for UK employers, as one of the main provisions of the same directive, namely that a worker’s week would be limited to 48 hours is already subject to an opt-out in the UK.

So it is unlikely that the new Government under Theresa May will seek to change much of today’s framework of employment law. It would be tricky, in any case, to unpick what belongs to us and what to the EU, and any changes will require new legislation.

Staying friendly with Europe……

It stands to reason that the UK will continue to monitor European law and will stick to EU minimum standards where this is required for negotiating future trading agreements.

Overall, what happens to EU law depends on the economic and political relationship that the UK negotiates with Europe, but there is more likely to be a re-shaping of specific areas which have been less popular with UK employers.

Possibilities for change……

One example might be The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, or TUPE, which restrict an employer’s right to change terms and conditions of employment for employees transferring in. It makes it difficult for employers to harmonise working conditions throughout the workforce following a transfer in, which often frustrates employers. Some commentators are predicting that the Government could make it easier for employers to make such changes, whilst preserving the main protection afforded by TUPE.

It is also predicted by some that the Agency Worker Regulations 2010 may, in due course, be amended or repealed. The Regulations provide protection for agency workers, such as the right to the same basic working and employment conditions as direct employees after 12 weeks of an assignment. Many employers have reported that the Regulations have caused them difficulties in seeking temporary workers to fill short-term requirements.

Clearly, there will no longer be an automatic right to free movement into the UK for EU workers. It is anticipated that EU citizens already working in the UK will be allowed to continue to do so. Longer-term, employers and non-UK EU citizens could be affected by more restrictions.

What about case law…….?

Some decisions of the European Courts in the area of holiday pay have proved unpopular with UK employers, such as including regular overtime in calculations for holiday pay and the right to keep accruing holiday whilst on sick leave. The European Court of Justice will no longer have jurisdiction and its future decisions will not be binding on UK courts. However, their judgments are still likely to be taken into consideration over here.

Turnstone HR will keep you posted if any developments materialise in employment law which might affect your organisation  … but for now, in South Lakeland, it’s business as usual.

“There is evidence to suggest that good HR practice and people management in SMEs are key factors in strong business performance and can lead to increased productivity.”

- CIPD people Skills Project 2017


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