Certain employment-related elements of the Conservative Party’s manifesto were announced earlier this week. However, the Tory pledge to protect all workers’ rights currently guaranteed by EU law might not be as bold as it appears.
Chris Nagel, EML’s Director / Head of HR, comments:
“As UK legislation has already enacted a large proportion of EU employment law, it will remain effective until amended. Such changes would require Parliamentary approval which, of course, would take time. Given the rigmarole involved, it never really followed that a vote to leave the EU would mean that some or all EU-derived UK employment laws would be amended or repealed.
Furthermore, the fact that much of those laws now constitute workplace norms in the UK mean that the likely response of the electorate to legislative amendments was always going to be a consideration as major changes which effectively deplete the protection workers have come to expect are always going to be considered politically undesirable. In any event, it’s also the case that negotiations in respect of the UK’s relationship outside the EU could well result in an ongoing requirement for the UK to comply with EU regulation in return for being granted continued access to the Single Market.
In reality, the Tories are more likely to sanction the bypassing of EU case law in certain areas (e.g. sickness absence and holiday pay) than meddle with the legislation itself, as UK courts and tribunals will no longer have to make preliminary references to the European Court of Justice. However, it won’t necessarily follow that existing UK case law stemming from EU decisions will suddenly become redundant. Indeed, it’s more likely that tribunals will continue to work to these decisions unless and until a different approach is determined by higher courts or Parliament.”
If you are an employer concerned about the impact that the outcome of the forthcoming General Election will have on working rights, please contact one of our HR consultants for an initial discussion without charge or obligation.