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Latest News
30 May 2016

How Britain leaving the EU could affect your employment rights

A recent article on The Guardian website discusses how a Brexit decision would affect UK employee rights.

Various sources have made proclamations about the impact that Britain leaving the EU would have on our employment rights in the UK. However, as the publication notes, the reality is that many EU laws are likely to be retained; partly because the withdrawal negotiations could take months, if not years, and partly because any government who tries to do abolish certain working laws based on EU directives – such as paid holiday, shared parental leave and equal right for part- and full-time workers – is likely to be unsuccessful.

There are some areas of employment that would be first in line for review, and possible change, if a Brexit vote does go ahead. These include:

Working time

The EU working directive limits the working week to 48 hours, although employees can be asked if they would like to opt out of this, and includes rules about paid holiday and minimum rest periods. But the law in this area has become increasingly uncertain, and it´s likely that the government may wish to give employers greater discretion.


Tupe regulations – the transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) protects the rights of workers when business is transferred or services are outsourced. This can make it difficult for employers to merge the T´s and C´s of their existing workers with new staff, so a Brexit could result in a loosening of these terms to make things easier.


A compensation cap could be imposed on successful discrimination claims, which at the moment is unlimited. What´s more, there is no minimum service requirement before employees can make a claim, putting employers at serious risk of financial and reputational damage.

Agency staff

The EU agency workers directive dictates that agency workers must have similar basic employment rights as permanent members of staff. These rules are incredibly unpopular among UK employers, so it´s likely that they will be the first to come under scrutiny.

Copyright M2 Bespoke 2016

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