Nighat Sahi

Published 24 October 2022

Is it All Change for Employment Law?

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill was published in September, and it has the potential to mean significant changes and disruption to employment law. That’s because it automatically repeals (as of 31st December 2023) any retained EU law and statutory instruments introduced to comply with EU law.

We always knew change was coming. When we left the EU at the end of the transition period at the end of 2020 there were a number of laws retained “temporarily” as it were by the UK with the idea that in due course and over time, they would be re-enacted by domestic legislation or endorsed by court decisions, or possibly repealed as appropriate. Most of us thought that process would be gradual.

What legislation does the new Bill apply to?

Quite a lot is the simple answer. EU derived legislation currently covers a number of areas of UK law, including data protection, intellectual property and of course, employment law. More specifically, the bill includes statutory instruments made to implement EU directives such TUPE, the Working Time Regulations, discrimination law, agency worker laws, and equal pay.

The Bill will automatically repeal any legislation covered by it unless specific legislation is introduced to retain it before the end of 2023. There is power to extend the revocation deadline in relation to individual pieces of legislation provided that the deadline for revocation is no later than 23rd June 2026.

What changes can be expected?

We don’t know yet! There are over 2,000 laws that will now have to be reviewed and assessed within a very short time period and the government is yet to announce what will be retained and what won’t.

However, the most likely areas to be affected are probably:

  • Transfer of Undertakings Regulations
  • Working Time Regulations
  • Agency Workers Regulations
  • Fixed Term Employees Regulations
  • Part Time Workers Regulations
  • Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations.

Various health and safety regulations may also be affected. All of which means that there could be significant changes to employee rights such as annual paid leave, rest periods, and 48 hour working week protection.

It is not expected that the Equality Act 2010 and the Employment Rights Act 1996 will be affected.

What action do you need to take?

All we know at the moment is that over the next few months, we may see some significant developments. However, until we know more, the best thing to do is watch this space and we’ll keep you up to date as the situation evolves.

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