Kate Brooks

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services

DATE PUBLISHED: 04 Mar 2019 LAST UPDATED: 23 May 2022

What happens to EU derived employment law on Brexit?

Some really important employment rights are derived from EU legislation and/or EU case law.

These rights include for example:

  • Working time e.g. holiday, breaks and working week;
  • Discrimination;
  • Agency workers; and
  • Health and safety.

What will happen to this legislation on Brexit?

Brexit will either be no deal which means no transition period and from 11pm on 29th March 2019 a sudden break from the EU; or a deal which will mean a transition period and Brexit would take effect on 31st December 2020 rather than immediately on
29th March 2019.

Regardless of whether there is a deal or not, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA) EUWA means that workers will still have the rights that are derived from EU law.

This includes:

1.Primary UK legislation e.g. the Equality Act 2010 (discrimination legislation) and would need to be repealed before changed;

2.Secondary legislation (e.g. TUPE) which will be enshrined into UK law under EUWA; and

3.EU case law which will be converted into UK law under EUWA.

For the time being the substance of the EU derived employment legislation will be unchanged. However, it may be that in the future (not too distant if “no deal” or in 2021 if there is a deal and transition period) that some of the EU derived rights may be tweaked. For example, there has been tension between employers and employees over EU holiday pay cases and this is something which might be looked at in the future.

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