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Legal insights & industry updates

| 1 minute read

Hello, goodbye? The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill – what does it mean for the future of UK Employment Law?

Whilst it’s been a tumultuous few weeks for the UK Government, one thing that has not yet been subject to any change is the recently proposed Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.  If the Bill is passed without amendments there will likely be a significant impact on all employment and health and safety legislation derived from the EU.

The Bill aims to remove all EU derived UK legislation within the next 15 months. This means that the UK Government will have to take positive action if it wants to retain many existing employment protections beyond 31 December 2023.

Employment legislation at risk includes the Working Time Regulations 1998, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (commonly known as TUPE) and the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

What does the Bill do?

The Bill will make a number of changes including:

  • repealing EU derived laws by the end of 2023. This deadline may be further extended to 23 June 2026 (the tenth anniversary of the Brexit referendum) but cannot be further extended;
  • repealing the principle of supremacy of EU law by the end of 2023. Currently, any EU decision reached before 1 January 2021 is binding on UK courts unless the UK Government departs from it. As the Bill is currently proposed, it will make UK law supreme by default.  In other words, tribunals and courts will not be able to use EU decisions to help them to interpret our laws or stretch UK statutory interpretation to give effect to EU law;
  • repealing directly effective EU law rights and obligations in UK law by the end of 2023;
  • establishing a new priority rule requiring retained direct EU legislation to be interpreted and applied consistently with domestic legislation

What impact will the Bill have?

At this point it is uncertain, as it is not known what legislation the UK Government will seek to retain.

However, civil servants face the monumental task of reviewing over 2,400 pieces of EU law and identifying what if any will be kept and legislated for by 31 December 2023.

In light of the current political uncertainty, this task is becoming more difficult to perform by the proposed deadline by the day.

It may be that the Bill is amended on its way through parliament and the final draft is far from certain.

Whilst we’d expect that some of the key employment legislation will be retained, the nature and extent of this is not yet known - we shall keep you updated as and when the position becomes clearer.

We’ll be analysing this Bill, and more, in our latest Employment Matters seminar on 28 October – more details here.


employment law, brexit