• International Workplace
  • 10 September 2018

Workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has issued guidance on the impact on workplace rights in the event of a no Brexit deal.

The guidance is part of a series of technical notices, which set out information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a ‘no deal’ scenario, so they can make informed plans and preparations.

This notice informs businesses, workers and citizens of the UK’s plans to continue workplace protections in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place.

Before 29 March 2019

The workplace rights and protections covered in the guidance come from EU law and include the following:

  • The Working Time Regulations, which include provisions for annual leave, holiday pay and rest breaks.
  • Family leave entitlements, including maternity and parental leave.
  • Certain requirements to protect the health and safety of workers.
  • Legislation to prevent and remedy discrimination and harassment based on sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and race or ethnic origin in the workplace, and any resulting victimisation.
  • The TUPE regulations, protecting workers’ rights in certain situations when there is a transfer of business or contracts from one organisation to another.
  • Protections for agency workers and workers posted to the UK from EU states.
  • Legislation to cover employment protection of part-time, fixed-term and young workers; information and consultation rights for workers, including for collective redundancies.
  • Legislation covering insolvency referred to in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and Pension Schemes Act 1993, administering redundancy related payments to employees in case of insolvency. The legislation that applies in Northern Ireland is the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and the Pension Schemes (Northern Ireland) Act 1993.


After 29 March 2019 if there’s ‘no deal’

The guidance advises that the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings across the powers from EU Directives. This means that workers in the UK will continue to be entitled to the rights they have under UK law, covering those aspects which come from EU.

Domestic legislation already exceeds EU-required levels of employment protections in a number of ways. The government will make small amendments to the language of workplace legislation to ensure the existing regulations reflect the UK is no longer an EU country. These amendments will not change existing policy. This will provide legal certainty, allowing for a smooth transition from the day of EU exit, and will ensure that employment rights remain unchanged, including the employment rights of those working in the UK on a temporary basis.

The UK government will continue to work with the devolved administrations to ensure workers’ rights continue to operate across the UK.

More details are available here.