April 13th, 2017 / Insight posted in Articles

The Great Repeal Bill – some words of post-Brexit comfort

The Great Repeal Bill will transpose all EU legislation into UK law so it can then be kept or removed by the UK Government post-Brexit. For anyone worried about whether this will mean a bonfire of employment law rights, there are a number of signs that things are unlikely to change very much.

Firstly, real change in this area would require a Government with an appetite to overhaul employment law, and which is prepared to commit significant time and resource to doing so. Such a Government would also need to be confident that change would be well received by the electorate. This is unlikely to be the case, as the UK labour force has become used to good employment protections.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, the Government has not shown much inclination to change this legal area.

The Government has made clear that ECJ Judgments made before Brexit will continue to apply post-Brexit, unless Parliament legislates for a different approach or the Supreme Court considers that “it appears right” to depart from the previous EU position. It is expected that this would happen only in very exceptional cases.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the UK has implemented some EU Directives more generously than they were required to do, such as TUPE and holiday entitlement, while many employment laws that we are familiar with, such as unfair dismissal and equal pay, originated in the UK rather than in the EU, so will be unaffected by Brexit.

No-one can predict the future with complete accuracy, but we are seeing compelling signs that the Great Repeal Bill will not be the start of any radical changes to employment law.