How will Brexit affect employment law?

Claire Vane
September 13, 2016

Several clients have asked me to write a blog on the consequences of Brexit for the world of HR and for employers.  I vowed that I would stay clear of politics so I will comment only in so far as it affects HR. 

My concerns for Brexit revolve largely around employment law and whether a move out of the EU could lead to an unraveling of what we have seen as progressive development in the world of equality and equalisation.

How will Brexit affect employment law?

Having talked to several lawyers and a couple of Employment Tribunal Chairmen, I am reassured that leaving the EU is unlikely to unravel what has been a positive trend to greater fairness of treatment in the workplace culminating in the Equality Act of 2010 and latterly Shared Parental Leave.

Following Brexit, various lawyers have considered the implications of the referendum decision on UK employment law. Whilst all are unanimous in the belief that Brexit does not herald the removal of EU generated workplace law such as rights to holiday pay, rest breaks and to equal treatment, there is a theory that the harsh restrictions preventing employers from harmonising terms following a TUPE transfer will be relaxed in time.

This is not likely to happen for at least two years but there is now a light at the end of the tunnel which will be a relief, particularly in the sphere of education, to large multi-academy trusts who have inherited schools from various local authorities.

Brexit and Annual Salary Reviews

What does occur to me, as certain clients of ours are embarking on their annual salary review, is that if inflation increases, which the indicators currently show, then salary increases in terms of monetary worth and buying power will be eliminated by the rise in inflation. This does not help employers very much, or the motivation of the workplace. Perhaps this will lead to more creative incentivisation through one-off small bonuses, e.g. vouchers and spa days, and the purchase of ‘experiential rewards’, such as dinner out, will be a good way forward rather than an even greater increase to the salary bill driven by increasing inflation.

This also leads us to guess that the way the bonuses might be paid where they are dependent on contribution to revenues. Bonuses could become the name of the game with creative remuneration policies linked to performance management and therefore the drafting of robust competency architecture.

However as a classicist, I feel torn as I consider the rise and fall of the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. My studies lead me to believe that democracy has to prevail and whatever our views, a majority vote, however small the majority, has to succeed if democracy means anything, even though there are those who believe that the move out of the EU is not economically, socially or politically wise.

I am not passing comment here about which direction is better, as I have avowed to keep to my political neutrality, but there will certainly be some indirect spin-offs in the world of HR.

If you would like to discuss the implications of Brexit on your business further, please get in touch with the team at Integrated Resources today.

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Claire Vane

Claire is the Managing Director and Founder of Integrated Resources. She is passionate about releasing potential in individuals and organisations.

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