Ever since the vote for Brexit in the referendum of June 2016, employers across the land have been waiting to see what impact this will have for them.
Many employers in favour of Brexit were hoping to see a decisive reduction in what they believe to be the overly prescriptive, bureaucratic and unnecessarily far reaching sphere of employment protection and an end to what they perceived as “red tape”. On the other hand, those employers not in favour of Brexit, have been watching developments, in the hope that the landscape which they know and understand and in which their businesses operate is not turned upside down. For many businesses, commercial immigration and the way in which the UK will deal with the issue of free movement moving forward, will be critical to their business. Whichever side of the fence you sit, it is clear that what business really needs is certainty.
While the government is still seeking to reach a deal on exactly what format our exit from the EU will take, the recent publication of the white paper “The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union” tends to suggest that there is currently no plan to remove any employment legislation. It is proposed that no EU based employment laws will be repealed and so, many areas which were identified as being possible targets for reform (post-Brexit) such as TUPE, the Working Time Regulations, and discrimination legislation look set to remain unchanged.
The recent white paper suggests that the government intends to allow the free movement of “skilled workers” to continue. Teresa May, the prime minister, has previously said that she favours a points based immigration system. We don’t yet have a deal and so, the certainty which businesses need remains elusive. It seems clear however, that the government has to strike a balance between the Brexit model which many voted for and the need to ensure that UK businesses have an adequate workforce available to allow them to thrive.
It won’t be too long now, before we know what the post- Brexit employment landscape will look like.