Government plans for employment law post Brexit must strike a sensible balance between safeguarding and improving workers’ rights and best protecting the interests of British business, says one of the region’s most knowledgeable HR lawyers.
Teresa Thomas, a Partner and Head of Employment Law at Wilkin Chapman solicitors, was speaking after this week’s announcement from Parliament, during which the Government re-assured the nation on its proposals for employment regulations. All current such laws are governed within European regulation, which will cease to exist.
Teresa, who leads a highly experienced team across the Humber and Lincolnshire, said: “It will be reassuring for all concerned to know that the Government has examined the area of employment law post-Brexit in such detail.
“Across our region we have an eclectic mix of industry, which succeeds due to the relationships between employers and employees and this must continue,” said Teresa.
“Yes, there must be regulations that continue to protect and enhance the working environment, with particular concern for the increasing gig economy, but this must be balanced with an appreciation of the needs of business,” she added.
In a move designed to silence critics and MPs who believe the UK’s employment laws could ‘take a backward step’ in future years, the Government has already committed to enshrine the existing body of EU law on workplace standards into domestic legislation after Brexit.
It has also announced that a new Work Life Balance Directive will come into force after 2020, which will guarantee two months of paid leave for parents with children under eight and five days paid leave a year for carers, while all working parents of children aged up to eight will be able to request flexible working.
Meanwhile a new Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive will set employment terms for workers from their first day and give more certainty to staff doing shifts.
And this week, just days before the crucial vote on the PM’s Brexit deal, ministers offered the following further commitments:
- MPs will be given a vote on adopting future EU rules on workers’ rights;
- Trade unions will be consulted in advance on any proposed future changes;
- There will be a new single enforcement body to protect vulnerable and agency workers.
“Our region has great opportunity with further growth in the offshore renewables sector, while being home to some of the most successful commercial ports, food processing and agricultural operations in the world. It is important that new regulation allows all arms of industry to work together. Business cannot operate without skilled and dedicated people, and vice-versa,” added Teresa.