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Brexit Implications: Employment Law Newsletter Special

Brexit Implications: Employment Law Newsletter Special
28th June 2016 John Fowlers

A brief look at the effect of Brexit on employers:

After the results of the 2016 EU referendum, many employers have been left unsure of the effect of Brexit on their employment practices. Certainly, in the short-term, there will be little to no difference as the process to leave the EU requires the UK to give two years notice of our intention to leave, so for the at least the next two years, there will be no changes. David Cameron has also announced that he will leave it to his successor (expected to be chosen by October 2016) to serve this notice on the EU.

The long-term effects of Brexit on employers might not be as significant as many expected. The UK is legally bound to incorporate certain EU laws into our own domestic law, so when the UK leaves, these will be automatically repealed, but the influence that these laws have had on our legal system will still remain. As our domestic employment law has had to be made in accordance with EU law, employment law will remain largely unchanged, as these will not be repealed by Brexit. These include areas such as annual leave, employee transfers and discrimination. The UK will have to legislate to alter these laws.

The major change for employers will be the loss of freedom of movement. When the UK leaves the EU, employers who wish to hire or continue hiring workers from EU countries will need them to have permission to work in the UK. This will impact the low-waged sectors most of all as low-skilled workers will be unlikely to receive this permission.

If the UK wishes to enter into trade agreements with the EU after Brexit, it is likely that there will be conditions on the UK including that certain employment laws exist. This is the case with EEA countries such as Norway. This means that if the UK wants to enter into trade agreements with the EU, certain employment rights cannot be changed.

The effect of Brexit on employers will likely be minimal for the foreseeable future with the majority of employment law remaining unchanged. Changes could be made in the future, but drastic changes are unlikely as the UK does not wish to jeopardise future trade agreements with the EU.


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