The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis has given a strong indication that existing employment law would not be radically changed once the UK leaves the EU.
Writing on a blog for the website Conservative Home, he said that “regulation already in place will stay for the moment, but the flood of new regulation from Europe will be halted”.
Brexit employment law resources
While he said that certain aspects of EU regulation impacted the UK’s ability to compete globally, and that the aim should be to match regulation for companies to their primary export markets, employment regulation would not be up for major reform.
He added: “To be clear, I am not talking here about employment regulation. All the empirical studies show that it is not employment regulation that stultifies economic growth, but all the other market-related regulations, many of them wholly unnecessary.
“Britain has a relatively flexible workforce, and so long as the employment law environment stays reasonably stable it should not be a problem for business.”
Davis went on to say that by “stopping the flood of unnecessary market and product regulation”, the UK could significantly improve its growth, but that this would not mean cutting workers’ rights.
He said: “There is also a political, or perhaps sentimental point. The great British industrial working classes voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. I am not at all attracted by the idea of rewarding them by cutting their rights.”
Davis has also said he would like to trigger Article 50, which provides the UK’s formal notice to leave the EU and sets that process in motion, before the end of the year. New Prime Minister Theresa May, however, has suggested she would rather wait until the Government had secured better trade deals before invoking it.
Before the referendum, there had been much speculation that workers’ rights could be affected if there was a Leave vote, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggesting there would be a “bonfire of rights” if the UK left the EU.
On Monday, May promised to include consumer and worker representatives on major companies’ boards.