During the ‘Brexit’ campaign there was much debate about the extent to which leaving the EU would allow the UK to reduce the burden of businesses regulation, including employment regulation. Following yesterday’s ‘Leave’ vote, what changes are likely in the area of employment law?
In all likelihood, dramatic change is highly unlikely. Just as with Switzerland and Norway, this may be because the UK's arrangements with the EU post-Brexit will prevent it. Even if the UK takes a different approach to its dealings with the EU, wholesale changes to workers' rights are politically unattractive/impossible.
It does not seem realistic that a mainstream political party will want to campaign on a promise to 'End Paid Maternity Leave Now' or 'Make Racism Legal' and, in our view, we are simply not going to see anything like US-style employment at will. The previous Coalition Government could have abolished unfair dismissal law as part of the Beecroft review back in 2012, but there was no political will to do so and employment law was not a major battleground in the 2010 or 2015 general elections.
However, it is likely that there will be some changes and the table below examines potential changes: