• International Workplace
  • 31 January 2017

Brexit: what it could mean for workplace law

The Supreme Court has ruled that a vote by Parliament will determine whether the Government can begin the Brexit process. The judgment means talks with the EU cannot begin until MPs and peers vote in favour. Government, however, remains determined that this will happen and in time for their existing deadline of 31 March. A spokesperson said:

“The British people voted to leave the EU, and the Government will deliver on their verdict – triggering Article 50, as planned, by the end of March. Today’s ruling does nothing to change that.

“It’s important to remember that Parliament backed the referendum by a margin of six to one and has already indicated its support for getting on with the process of exit to the timetable we have set out.”

One of the key issues raised by campaigners arguing for a parliamentary vote was that triggering Article 50 would mean overturning existing UK law and, therefore, should be decided upon by MPs. In accordance, while presenting his ruling, Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger said:

"Withdrawal effects a fundamental change by cutting off the source of EU law, as well as changing legal rights. The UK's constitutional arrangements require such changes to be clearly authorised by Parliament."

Questions surrounding what Brexit may mean specifically for employment law are also being raised. Legal, tax and compliance specialist Bloomberg BNA is of the opinion that the British Government may loosen employment laws to try to keep businesses from fleeing. It comments:

“The government may look to entice businesses to stay in the country by making it easier for them to use contract labour, scrapping protections for transferred employees, lifting work hour limits, and capping discrimination damages.”

Find out more about the potential impact for workplaces here.


Reproduced with kind permission from Daily Labor Report, 2 DLR A-9 (Jan. 4, 2017). Copyright 2017 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)