The Government’s Brexit White Paper has now been published, and it offers some insight into how this might impact on employment law.
It has been published just as the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill is jumping through the legislative hurdles in Parliament. It is anticipated that the process will be done in time to invoke Article 50 by the deadline that Theresa May imposed of 31st March 2017.
Of the 77 pages, here are 4 main things employers need to take away from the White Paper.
1 Great Repeal Bill is confirmed
Despite the fact that discussions about Brexit seem to change every day, the White Paper has confirmed that the Great Repeal Bill will go ahead. The Bill will revoke the 1972 European Communities Act. All the existing body of law will be converted into domestic law. Therefore when we leave, the same rules and law will continue to apply as they did when we were a member of the EU. Afterwards, Parliament will carry out a pick and choose exercise – they will be able to maintain, revoke or amend the EU law as they see fit.
2 The rights of workers will be maintained and strengthened
The government is adamant that the Great Repeal Bill will continue to preserve the rights of workers. It highlights that in many cases, UK law goes beyond the minimum requirements set out in EU law. For instance, EU law states that statutory maternity leave must be at least 14 weeks long, but the UK provides that employees have the right to up to 52 weeks of leave.
The White Paper also says that the government is committed to bolstering rights to ensure we remain a leader on workers’ rights and that protections are in line with the changing labour market.
3 Immigration will be controlled
It confirms that immigration from EU countries will be reined in and that new immigration arrangements for EU nationals may require a phased process of implementation to give business sufficient time to prepare for the changes.
4 Secure the rights of EU citizens in the UK
It affirms that the government wishes to secure the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and the rights of UK nationals living with other EU states as early as possible. It falls short of expressly guaranteeing EU nationals their right to stay in the UK.
As you can see, it does not provide too much information or clarity as to how Brexit will unravel and the impact that will be felt by businesses. We will need to wait a little longer.
Keep up to date with the developments affecting employers on our news page.