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Brexit and employment law

brexit which way

Theresa May recently indicated that Article 50 will be triggered before March 2017, leaving the government with the unenviable task of unpicking UK legislation from a generation of EU Directives.  Whilst sceptics have voiced concern that wide-ranging EU mandates may be quietly rewritten on short-term ideological grounds, many businesses have welcomed a less prescriptive approach to organising their affairs. One ongoing area of concern to both businesses and individuals is employment legislation.

EU laws are so heavily embedded in UK employment law, it seems unlikely that the government would immediately seek to replace the majority of legislation. Indeed, they have indicated they will initially enshrine existing EU legislation into UK law, leaving the government to implement more incremental changes over a longer term – but which laws are likely to change?

Several areas are generally unpopular with UK businesses and are therefore potentially susceptible to reform. These include the Agency Worker Regulations which grant agency workers the same rights as directly employed staff once the agency worker has completed 12 weeks service. Generally it is felt that the regulation hinders employers when they are looking to plug short term gaps in resourcing. Annual leave is another area in which decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union have left UK businesses frustrated, for example the ruling which means employees can accrue holiday whilst on sick leave and it is likely that the UK government would examine these areas.

Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) is another area that is likely to be reviewed post-Brexit. Many employers find the requirements make it difficult to harmonise staff contracts, leading to disparity amongst workers. Making it easier to align staff contracts would be much more business friendly although the government will have to be careful to ensure that other EU members states, trade unions and the British public do not see changes as being excessively detrimental to workers rights and freedoms.

A business-friendly government may therefore afford employers more flexibility in the long run. Notwithstanding, the risk of any emergent legislation resides in conflict – with high-profile test cases in discussion before negotiations have even started. Considering this logistically, each employer faces the same task as the government, re-evaluating every part of their employment policy to avoid exposure to six figure damage claims. Gradually, a well-worn HR manual becomes a minefield of potentially explosive reinterpretations.

Fortunately, this logistical role ultimately transfers to the legal expenses insurer, as a well-considered LEI policy can plug the gaps in legal liability and even avoid a legal risk in the first instance. Temple works with over 200 legal experts across the UK to provide up to date advice on all areas of UK law, backed by future-proof insurance coverage; broad-enough to cater for all employment risks, irrespective of Brexit negotiations.

We’re prepared!

Are you?…

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Sean Fayle

Senior Underwriting Manager
Read articles by Sean Fayle

Sean Fayle

Sean started his insurance career in 1994 and has been specifically involved in Legal Expenses since 1997. Over a long career specialising in legal expenses, he has worked as an underwriter, sales executive and relationship manager.

His experience of underwriting a variety of commercial and personal, stand alone and schemes accounts means that our customers have the benefit of his broad knowledge.

As a relationship manager, Sean has a strong focus on customer service and a desire to get the best outcomes for our clients and works closely with our business partners to achieve this.

Sean’s extensive knowledge of the legal expenses market helps to support Temple Legal Protection as a market leader for BTE & ATE insurance.


Read articles by Sean Fayle