UK Workers Rights at Risk Amid New, Post-Brexit Employment Laws

As the UK has left the European Union at the beginning of this year, the Government is looking to shake-up employment laws, now that EU regulations do not apply to the UK. The rumoured changes are likely to cause upset with the country’s trade unions.

Changes in UK employment law

While the UK was part of the European Union, certain employment laws were applicable in the UK, protecting worker’s rights. Such include the 48-hour working times directive. 

It was reported by the Financial Times, that the Government is planning to overhaul the employment laws and labour market of the country, and therefore they could be scrapping the protection EU law has provided for UK workers.

A package proposing a change to certain employment laws is currently being put together by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with approval from Downing Street. This plan has not been approved yet by any ministers nor the cabinet, but certain business leaders have heard of the proposed changes through various insider sources. 

There is a proposed change to the ‘Working Time Directive’. The ‘The Working Time Directive’ was designed by the European Commission to protect workers’ rights by regulating break times and putting a limit on how many hours can be worked per week.

The proposed changes would mark a clear turn away from the previous EU labour market standards. The main incentive is to end the 48-hour working week and tweak break entitlements. As well as not including overtime pay (and sales commissions) when calculating holiday pay entitlements. A change in calculating holiday entitlement could mean a significant reduction in income to low-paid workers. 

There are also further plans to remove the requirement for logging the daily reporting of working hours. Which would be a welcomed change in some sectors. 

The Government insists that this, and any further reforms would be to help companies and their employees and that it will be put to a full consultation. While Trade Unions have already raised concerns over the matter.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this matter, email us at to tell us what you think, and we will be bringing you the newest update on the topic as it unfolds. 

To help employers familiarise themselves with employment law changes after Brexit we are holding a Webinar on the 20th of January. Register here.

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This publication is a general guide and summary of the law and should not be construed as legal advice. It should not be acted upon or relied upon in any way and should not replace legal advice which is bespoke to your particular circumstances.


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