On 22nd September 2022, the government announced the introduction of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022. The bill will impact 2,400 pieces of retained EU law which span a large amount of policy areas and many sectors, including employment.
Under the Bill, all retained EU law will be revoked on the “sunset date” of 31st December 2023, unless Parliament takes the steps to implement it into UK law. The sunset date may be extended for specified elements of retained EU Law until 2026.
Some of the key pieces of regulatory legislation affected are:
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999;
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002;
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013;
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008;
Consumer Rights Act 2015;
Building Regulations 2010;
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015;
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013; and
The areas of employment law which will fall under the remit of the bill include:
The Working Time Regulations 1998
The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000
The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010
The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004
The bill could impact employment rights such as the 48-hour working week, rest breaks and holiday pay, rights of employees when a business transfers under TUPE, and equality of treatment of part-time and fixed-term workers among many other rights.
With the bill currently making its way through parliamentary consultation, it is too early to say what will happen, but we can say for certain is that it has the potential to affect most, if not all, businesses in the UK.
The Government could decide to not retain any EU-derived legislation and revoke all. However, in the publication dated 22nd September, they stated that “Government departments and the devolved administrations will determine which retained EU law can expire, and which needs to be preserved and incorporated into domestic law”, so it seems unlikely that this will happen. Although, it is also unlikely that the Government will approve existing EU-derived legislation without making any amendments.
The Government has created a public dashboard which contains a list of Retained EU Law, alongside a description and its current status which should assist businesses who wish to stay on top of the legislative developments. It can be viewed here: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/governmentreporting/viz/UKGovernment-RetainedEULawDashboard/Guidance
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