As we wake to a brave new world for our country, what could this decision mean for UK employers?
Whilst we do not know what the future outside of the European Union will bring, and with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk’s comments earlier this morning with regards to the UK and European laws in mind, there is speculation as to what happens now and what laws from Europe the UK might be able to untangle itself from.
TUPE, agency workers rights, holiday/working time and protection of part-time and fixed term workers have had their basis in Europe. It is these laws which many commentators have focused on as ones which they could see being changed or even axed. The extent to which the UK is able to disentangle itself from such laws will have to be seen. Would such a change be politically or socially acceptable?
However, many laws such as our discrimination laws and family leave benefits, which have their background in Europe, are unlikely to be deleted from the statute books. Rights and protections of protected groups are unlikely to be ripped up and maternity and other benefits will not be lost, despite the result.
What of other laws – data protection, for example, where we see a major new Regulation from Europe being recently passed and which will come directly into force from 2018. A topic which we are covering at our upcoming Webinar on 28 June 2016. These new Regulations require organisations to comply depending on where they trade, not where they are based, with the result that Europe may still have an influence on our legislation.
What about the free movement of people? Once again, it will take time for new rules on immigration to be negotiated. For now, the free movement of people, goods and services will remain as markets adjust.
We don’t even know when Article 50 will be triggered and the two year period of exit negotiations will commence. David Cameron had originally suggested it would be today, in the event of an exit vote, but that seems not to be the case.
So, for now, we have uncertainty; however, what is certain, is that the relationship our domestic laws have with those of our European neighbours will continue to be joined for some time – and in some cases, perhaps forever.
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