Brexit: What would an ‘out vote’ mean for employment law?
With a significant share of the UK’s employment law coming from Europe, a Brexit vote could bring big changes to Britain, especially if the Government decided to revoke all EU-derived laws.
Some laws, like the Equality Act 2010, which comes from the EU’s Equal Treatment Directive and out-laws discrimination, are so well embedded into the British legal system, it is generally thought unlikely that the government would amend them.
The fears sit mainly around “secondary legislation”, such as the Working Time Directive, which controls the maximum number of hours employees can work per week and also entitles them to holiday pay.
The Working Time Directive was brought in under the European Communities Act 1972 and, following an “out vote”, the UK Government could potentially remove the Act altogether, meaning that regulations passed under it would fall away, unless deliberately retained.
However, the majority of EU employment laws have been integrated into the UK as “primary legislation” via Acts of Parliament – meaning that they would not be directly affected by a Brexit, even if the UK was to completely leave the EU after the June 23 referendum.