How Can Employers Overcome The Brexit Impact?

Author:Ms Victoria McMeel and Edward Smith

The dreaded 'B-word' has been on the nation's lips since June 2016, with negotiations having taken far longer than the government anticipated. We now have a leave date of 31 January 2020.

So far, Brexit has resulted in debate and controversy at every step, giving rise to three separate rejections by Parliament of the original EU withdrawal agreement and the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May. It has dominated a General Election and seen Boris Johnson assume the role of PM with a vastly redistributed Parliament. The original Brexit 'leave date' was extended three times, before the latest Withdrawal Agreement was passed by Parliament on 20 December 2019.

Where are we now?

As things stand, the UK should leave the European Union on 31 January 2020 with the Withdrawal Agreement in place - subject to the European Parliament giving its green light on the deal.

Following this, the UK will enter a transition period until 31 December 2020 where it will effectively operate under EU rules. Negotiations over a new UK-EU trade deal will begin soon and will include discussions over tariffs, data protection and more.

Some considered the transition could be extended to as late as December 2022 to allow additional time for negotiation, but the government has so far ruled this out. We wrote this article on the basis that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020.

What does Brexit mean for UK Employment Law?

All current employment legislation will still apply post-Brexit, courtesy of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The Act states that all direct EU-derived legislation in operation before the date of exit will remain in place following that date. Accordingly, EU derived laws, such as the Working Time Regulations, will continue to apply to UK employees.

However, UK employment laws may be eroded post-Brexit. Once the UK has left the EU, it will no longer be subject to EU Directives and Regulations. Parliament will be free to enact or repeal legislation without regard to the EU laws from which they derived. On this basis, Parliament could elect to reduce worker's rights if it so chooses.

In any event, immigration rules will change following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

Changes for EU citizens residing in the UK

After the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020, the current agreement that allows EU citizens to move freely between European countries (i.e. freedom of movement) will no longer include the...

To continue reading