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Nov 2020

How Brexit will affect employment

On 31 December 2020, the transition period for withdrawing from the European Union ends. This article explores the anticipated affects Brexit will have on employment in the UK.

Right to work

Although there is currently no requirement to amend right to work checks on current employees who are EEA nationals, employers may wish to support and encourage applications to the EU Settlement Scheme especially as the deadlines approach.  For UK nationals working in Europe steps will need to be taken to understand the local requirements. For instance, teachers taking children on a school trip may be considered to be “working” and thus require an appropriate visa in some countries.


Employers will need to understand and anticipate their recruitment needs in 2021. They may need a sponsor licence for any EEA and non-EEA arrivals in the UK from 1 January 2021 who do not have their own right to work. Employers will also need to ensure that their current recruitment processes do not expose them to claims for discrimination from applicants overseas who require permission to work.

The Home Office guidance currently confirms that employers should not insist on EU Settlement Scheme evidence until 1 July 2021. The Home Office will be releasing further guidance on the right to work checks from 1 July 2021.

Future of UK Employment Law

Currently, there has been no proposals to make material changes to UK Employment law in the short to medium term. However, given the complexities of EU law, it is anticipated that the following changes may be made in the long term: -

Given the integration of the TUPE Regulations, it is not anticipated that there will be an abolition of the regulations. Instead, it is expected that the rules on consultation will be relaxed in line with the rules on redundancy consultations. In addition, it is expected that the prevention of harmonisation of terms will be abolished.

There are numerous anticipated changes to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTR”) which may include: -

  • Abolishing the Tyco ruling so that travel time to an employee’s first place of work and home does not count as working time under the regulations. Consequently, such time would not count towards rest breaks and would not be included in the calculation of the 48-hour week.
  • Abolishing the 48-hour working week which can be opted out and is rarely enforced in the event of a breach.
  • Amending the calculation of holiday pay to exclude commission, bonuses or overtime.
  • Abolishing the Agency Worker Regulations which after 12 weeks currently entitles workers to the same salary, access to training/promotions and benefits as full time staff.
  • Capping the awards that can be made in discrimination claims, in a similar way to unfair dismissal claims.


If you need assistance or advice on the contents of this article, please contact Thackray Williams LLP who have set up a FREE Legal Advice Line to businesses and employees in the wake of COVID-19. Do get in touch on 020 8663 4127 if you wish to discuss this matter in more detail or require any advice.

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