How Brexit will affect employment law in the UK – white paper released

12 July 2018

The long-awaited white paper on the post-Brexit relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union (‘EU’) has been published today by Government.

The new Secretary of State for exiting the EU, Dominic Raab, delivered a statement to the Commons outlining the Government's plans for Britain's future relationship with the EU, including its impact on employment law.

Paragraph 122 outlines the commitment to continuous compliance to existing laws:

“The UK already exceeds EU minimum standards in a number of areas, such as parental leave and flexible working arrangements, and is a leader in many others. For example, on health and safety, the UK has one of the strongest records in Europe, and in 2015, the UK’s standardised rate of fatal injury was among the lowest in the EU28.36 The UK is also ensuring employment practices keep pace with rapid technological change in its response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. On equalities, the UK ranks third in the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Rainbow Europe index and also ranks above the EU28 average on the European Institute for Gender Equality 2017 Index.37 The UK has also demonstrated its commitment to tackling modern slavery, for example through the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and will continue to lead the global fight against it.”

Paragraph 123 recommends that there should be no regression in employment law:

“Given this strong record, and in the context of the UK’s vision for the future relationship with the EU, the UK proposes that the UK and the EU commit to the non-regression of labour standards. The UK and the EU should also commit to uphold their obligations deriving from their International Labour Organisation commitments.”

This would mean that all existing laws already implemented by the EU will remain in place. These include: TUPE, Modern Slavery Act, Working Time Regulations, collective consultation requirements, large parts of the UK’s discrimination legislation and many more.