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With the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on the near horizon, we look at what impact the EU has had on our existing UK employment laws, where the Government has chosen to enhance EU regulations, and what may happen to these laws in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote.
[Article updated for 2016]
The following laws are in place in the UK because the EU obliges us to have them:
The UK joined the European Union in 1973 and so agreed that all EU Treaties would take legal effect in the UK (as in all Member States). The aim is to harmonise as much European Law as possible across all the EU Member States. The UK traditionally was a country that was opposed to some European Employment Rights and tried to alter them or block them, and has often implemented them only at the latest possible date. But on the other hand the UK has ‘gold-plated’ other EU Regulations. The future attitude a UK Government may take is, clearly, difficult to predict.
The UK Government’s decision to abolish the National Compulsory Retirement Age in 2011 and introduce Pensions Auto-Enrolment are solely derived from the UK.
Similarly, the right to request Flexible Working, Shared Parental Leave (and the proposed extension of this to Grandparents), Gender Pay Gap Reporting, the introduction of the new National Living Wage (and the original National Minimum Wage), and the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy are also the UK’s own concepts. As are the UK’s comprehensive unfair dismissal laws.
If there was a vote to leave the EU then the UK would have at least 2 years to negotiate its new relationship with the EU. It is therefore unlikely that anything dramatic would happen in the arena of employment law immediately (famous last words?).
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Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.
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Darren Fell, CEO of Crunch, said: "We welcome the government's commitment to adopt the recommendations from the Taylor report. We would however, urge caution that any response does not introduce more red tape, or reduce the ability for entrepreneurs to employ people flexibly."