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The Effect Of Brexit On Uk’s Employment Law And Employment Lawyers In London.

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By Author: Hudson Mckenzie
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It has passed now multiple months since the UK chose to stay away from the European Union. What are the short and long-term insinuations of this significant decision for employment lawyers in London?

On 17 January 2017, the Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a big speech on the Government’s purposes for leaving the EU, but it is still far from clarity what new relationship we will finally have with the EU and how this will affect theemployment law in the UK.

A majoramount of our existing employment law comes from Brussels. Once different from the EU, the Government could in theory cancel discrimination laws, co-operative consultation responsibilities, transmission of undertakings regulations, family leave, working time obligations and duties to agency workers among other laws. But would this really take place?

A large number of EU employment protections, including equal pay, race and disability discrimination laws and the power to return from maternity leave resided in some kind in the UK before being forced by Europe. It seems improbable that a UK government would withdraw rights that precede European laws.

Another motive that the Government might be unwilling to cancel employment law protection is that much of it is observed, by employers, employees and even by politicians, as a wonderful thing. Employment rights including family leave, discrimination law and the right to paid holiday are now widely acknowledged; indeed, family leave rights in this country go ahead than required by EU directives.

David Davis, the Minister for Exiting the EU, has made is quite clear that he is not in favour of cutting down on employment rights. And the Prime Minister, in her speech on 17 January 2017, assured not only that workers’ rights would be “fully protected and maintained” through the Brexit refendrum, but that “we will build on them” to “ensure legal safeguard for workers keeps pace with the changing labour market”.

Process and period for Brexit

It will unavoidably take some time for the UK to extract itself from the EU. The Prime Minister has suggested that the Government will give the EU formal notification of the UK’s withdrawal by March 2017. There is, however, a legal trial which might delay things, projected at obliging the Government to get Parliament’s agreement before notice is given. The judgment of the Supreme Court in this case is looming.

According to leading employment lawyers in London, “Once notice has been served, there will be a two-year period during which the parties will transfer the terms of departure and possibly put in place new trading arrangements.” Some commentators think it will take majorly longer than that to agree exit terms but, unless both the UK and the European Council agree to extend negotiations, the UK will simply cease to be a member of the EU at this point (i.e. circa March 2019).

The Government’s objective will be agree a new forthcoming trading relationship with the EU. It seems verydubious that full agreement on a permanent, long-term trade deal could be attained within the two-year negotiating period described above, but it is totally feasible that a conventional arrangement could be applied.

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