Brexit and Work
The EU has introduced legislation over time to protect and enhance worker’s rights and protections. Through the introduction of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) workers have been protected from working no more than an average of 48 hours a week, with other Directives underpinning the right to annual leave. The EU’s Equal Treatment Directive also led to the banning of discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of age, religion and sexual orientation. However, there have been concerns raised by industry bodies and thinktanks around the costs to the economy associated with EU workplace regulations.
The UK has often gone further than the rights introduced by the EU – for example statutory maternity leave of 52 weeks in the UK exceeds the 14 weeks guaranteed through EU legislation. As part of the preparations for leaving the EU, the UK Government has proposed to convert all current EU employment law into domestic law, with the Prime Minister guaranteeing existing rights during her period in office.