Range of Reasonable Responses Newsletter: January 2020
I'm writing this on the day the UK leaves the EU. From an employment law point of view (I see everything from an employment law point of view) the main point to note that is that nothing changes. The Withdrawal Act 2018 provides for a standstill transition running to December 2020 and during that time our employment law will continue as before. TUPE, The Working Time Regulations and other employment rights based on EU directives continue to apply and the courts must continue to interpret them in so as to comply with EU law as interpreted by the European Court of Justice. Even when the transition ends, that does not automatically bring about any change in this approach (let's ignore the technical changes to the rules of European Works Councils as I rarely meet anyone who cares).
From January 2021 Parliament will in theory be able to make changes to the laws based on EU directives. What changes can be made in practice will depend on the nature of the trade deal that is done in the meantime. It is likely that for any meaningful access to the single market the EU will insist on 'level playing field' provisions which will involve a commitment from the UK Government to maintain regulatory standards in areas such as consumer protection, environmental regulation and employment law. The extent to which the Government will be willing to sacrifice market access in order to have the freedom to diverge from EU standards is likely to be the key political question of the year. For now, however, employment law will continue as though nothing significant has happened.