The latest on Brexit employment law

In a white paper issued last week by the UK Government the post-Brexit status of the UK's employment legislation derived from European Union law appears to be no longer in doubt. Despite a high degree of speculation about proposed changes since the referendum outcome, the paper indicates no intention to repeal or amend employment or equality law.

The paper states: "existing workers' rights enjoyed under EU law will continue to be available in UK law at the day of the withdrawal"  and refers to the UK's vision for the future relationship with the EU by proposing that it will commit to a "non-regression of labour standards". This means that any UK employment laws which are based on EU law will stay the same post-Brexit – at least initially. The UK's current legislation on transfer of undertakings, working time, collective consultation and discrimination will not change when the UK finally leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.

On the immigration law side, the impact of Brexit on the free movement of workers to and from the UK remains a critical issue. The paper confirms that Irish citizens have a "special status"  which means that Irish and UK citizens will continue to move freely between Ireland and the UK (the Common Travel Area). However, without an agreement, UK and EU workers will no longer be able move freely between each other's countries without restrictions.

Last week's paper included a commitment to a "mobility framework"  so that UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other's countries to study and to work. The precise details of the proposed framework remain to be seen and we understand that a separate paper on immigration is due to be published by the UK later this year.

For more information in relation to this topic, please contact Ciara McLoughlin, Partner, Ailbhe Dennehy, Senior Associate, or any member of the A&L Goodbody Employment Team.

Date published: 19 July 2018