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Brexit and Employment Law: What now?

View profile for Howard Robson
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There is a great deal of uncertainty following the outcome of the ‘Brexit’ referendum. However, it is important to remember that nothing has actually changed, yet.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – which outlines the process of leaving the European Union (EU) – has not been activated as of yet (at the time of writing) and it is uncertain when it will be discussed in Parliament.  Currently, the only thing to have taken place is the people of the United Kingdom voting and the outcome showing that a majority would like to leave the European Union.

EU law provides a significant amount of our domestic employment law. However, it is unlikely that there will be a drastic overhaul of Employment Law; any changes are likely to be made slowly. Yet, certain areas of employment law may be more susceptible to change than others and the changes will be dependent on the Government in place at the time. For instance, a Labour Government might be more inclined to keep EU employment protection regulations as they have shown greater support for them in the past than other political parties.

TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006)

TUPE is often criticised for being complex in its application by businesses. It is likely that this would be an area of employment law that will see change. As however, it has been in place for over 30 years, it is unlikely that there will be a complete removal. If changes are made it would most likely be to make the TUPE provisions more business-friendly.

Agency Workers

Legislation concerning agency workers has been proven to be generally unpopular amongst employers. For example, under this European legislation, employers are required to offer terms and benefits to agency workers after 12 weeks that are equal to those they would receive if directly employed by the hirer on day one. This is likely to be one of the targeted areas for up-dating or removal.

Working Time Regulations

Working Time would likely be an area of employment law open to modification. A maximum working week is likely to remain but whether holiday time will continue to accrue during sick leave and whether holiday pay will continue to include proportionate overtime and bonuses is less likely.

Family Friendly Provisions

The UK provides greater rights and protections than would be provided for under EU legislation. It is unlikely that these provisions will change.


The Equality Act 2010 is the relevant UK legislation.. It is unlikely that any significant change will be made as a result of Brexit.


It is generally believed that no post Brexit UK government will attempt to repeal all legislation that originated in Europe and that this will also be the case as regards employment legislation, a great deal of which comes from, or has been touched by, Europe.

Should the UK decide to stay in the EEA or EFTA then it is likely that European employment legislation will have to remain in place.


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.