If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with ‘no deal’, will your rights in the workplace be affected?
The technical notice on this very subject explains the steps government are taking to transfer all EU legislation into UK law in time for exit, – so workers will continue to be entitled to the rights they have now – and these include annual leave, holiday pay, rest breaks, flexible working, parental leave, discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab even said domestic legislation already exceeds the level of employment protection provided under EU law.
But some interested parties are not so convinced. They point to the fact that because no new requests to set up European Works Councils (bodies within a company that represent European-based employees and keep up communication between them and management) will be accepted after a no-deal Brexit, workers will lose their voice.
They also believe the lack of an alternative to EWCs could leave British workers at a disadvantage compared to their EU colleagues, because they’d be out of the loop on discussions about pay and their working conditions.
The government has noted, however, that there might be some implications to workers’ rights in the event of employer insolvency – i.e. employees that work in an EU country for a UK-based employer might not always be protected under the national guarantee established in that country, which could affect their ability to bring a wage claim.
Earlier this week leaked cabinet papers also suggested that some 3.8 million EU migrants who already live and work in the UK will have their current rights protected and the right to stay in Britain if there is no Brexit deal.
Food for thought all round, but what now seems certain is that employees should make themselves aware of the relevant legislation in the EU country in which they work, while UK businesses and unions with EWCs may need to review those agreements.