What Brexit Means for Employment Law

Some time has now passed since we all woke up one Friday morning to find out that we will soon no longer be Europeans! A lot of issues were discussed in the run up to the referendum, but not much was made of what, if any impact a Brexit vote will have on our employment legislation, and therefore workers’ rights.

A large swath of UK employment law derives from legislation laid down by the EU. However, it has then been enshrined into Acts of Parliament in the UK and therefore the legislation would have to be repealed by Parliament rather than it just falling by the wayside once Brexit happens.

Matters currently protected as a result of our EU membership include, agency worker regulations, transfer of undertakings (TUPE), discrimination rights, annual leave, rest breaks and generally working hours.

It would be surprising if any Government were to unilaterally look to abolish such rights, however you may see in time some degree of watering down of them.

For example, the Working Time Regulations 1998 give specific rights to a minimum number of days for annual leave, details of rest breaks and maximum working hours, whether the figures attributed to these sections of the Regulations change over time will be interesting to see.

However, you cannot imagine protections such as equality and diversity, all brought together under the Equality Act being matters that any Prime Minister would move to abolish.

Back in 2014 the UK Government objected to there being a cap on bonuses in the financial sector, but the cap went ahead anyway within EU legislation, it will be interesting to see whether that cap is lifted once the UK leaves.

What will be of extra interest is what the UK Courts and Tribunals will do with European Court of Justice (ECJ) decisions. Obviously, once Brexit is enforced, it would not be likely that any decisions are still passed to the ECJ (although as part of any negotiated exit and attempts to remain part of the European Economic Area it may be the UK has to agree to maintain such authority), but the question is will the decisions made by the ECJ which currently direct our interpretation of legislation then be followed or ignored.

Recently we have seen ECJ decisions have an impact in how holiday pay is paid, and at what rate, and in respect of what constitutes working hours, will Judge’s still be bound by those decisions or simply establish new law with the Supreme Court (once the House of Lords) again being the final arbiter.

Employment lawyers such as myself will be watching the situation closely to see how the wind is turning. As I said, I would not expect mass changes to legislation, more likely we will maybe see the odd watering down of Acts of Parliament and interpretation of legislation slowly turning the tide towards a UK based opinion.

Interesting times ahead and certainly a look back to now, 5 years post Brexit will be a good study in what has actually changed as a result of the vote on 23rd June 2016.

To arrange a discussion about a new or existing Will, please get in touch with David Brown on 033 0002 0070 or info@planetemployment.co.uk

Planet Employment offer businesses specialist employment law services which deal with the procedural needs of managing staff and provides sound commercial advice which will deliver what the employer wants to achieve, rather than just a commentary on the legislation.

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Court of Appeal to Award a Woman £164,000 From Her Estranged Mother’s Estate

The media has been littered with coverage of a recent Court of Appeal’s decision to award daughter money she had not been left via her mother’s Will.

After a lengthy court battle, the Court overrode Melita Jackson’s Will, which left her £500,000 Estate to animal charities and expressly stated she did not want her daughter to receive anything. Read More »

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Summer is Coming – Planning a Holiday With the Children?

Whilst the weather may have us think differently, we are rapidly moving into the summer months. The May half term school holiday break is always a timely reminder that it will not be long before the long summer holiday period is upon us.

For those parents who are separated it is usually around this time that plans are being made for the children to spend time with each of them during the holidays.

It is very important that separated parents do give thought at an early stage to the arrangements for the summer holidays, especially where flights and accommodation are to be booked and paid for. Read More »

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Drink Driving Law Change – Statutory Option for Drink Drivers Removed

From the 10 April 2015 onwards, the option of replacing an evidential breath specimen with a blood or urine specimen where the breath test has exceeded the legal limit by just under 50% has been abolished.

Replacing the breath specimen with a blood or urine specimen was known as the statutory option.  It allowed suspected drink drivers the opportunity of having a specimen taken at the police station of between 40 – 50 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath replaced with an alternative specimen of blood or urine for analysis.

The statutory option was introduced by the Road Traffic Act 1988 at a time when there were doubts about the accuracy of evidential breath testing machines.

The Government has now concluded that the machines are accurate and the statutory option is not necessary.

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Fraudulent Claims That Cannot Be Challenged

The case of Hayward v Zurich Insurance Company Plc was determined by the Court of Appeal on 31 March 2015 but it started as long ago as June 1998 when Mr Hayward suffered an accident at work in which he injured his back.

In 1999, Mr Hayward’s employer obtained video surveillance evidence which appeared to show Mr Hayward carrying out heavy work at home.

In May 2001, Mr Hayward issued proceedings against his employer claiming his injury continued to cause him serious lumbar pain which restricted his mobility and, in turn, he had developed a depressive illness. Mr Hayward claimed compensation exceeding £420,000.

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Sound Judgement

One of the earliest law reports in history concerns the two prostitutes who took their dispute to King Solomon. Both had given birth to sons three days apart but one child had died and each woman claimed that the surviving child was hers. It was for the king to determine which woman was telling the truth and Solomon was unable to say whom was the biological mother.

He therefore suggested a somewhat radical procedure to settle the dispute. He proposed to cut the child in two so that each mother would have half the child. At this point one of the women concedes saying that she would rather the other raised her child than her child be slaughtered. From this Solomon is able to determine that this woman must be the real mother. Case closed. Read More »

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Welcome to the NWS Group

When I think of traditional law firm marketing, it usually involves a focus on being big. New entrants & alliances generally focus on being dynamic or use the strange phrase ‘game changing’. Smaller firms are generally patronised by the big firms & the media alike but consistently perform their duties in local markets. Read More »

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