Will UK employment law be simpler if we leave the EU?

With the upcoming referendum, where British voters will decide if the UK is to remain part of the EU or to leave the EU threw up a couple of questions for us here at dot2dot nursery insurance.  We wanted to know how an EU exit by the UK might affect the Nursery Industry

Will we actually regain control over our employment laws as pro-exit campaigners say if we leave the EU?

If the UK does vote to leave the EU then we would need to negotiate a new trading agreement with Europe.

As a nursery owner you may think that this doesn’t affect you, however, if we had a similar trade agreement to that of Norway, which is viewed as a good example, we would have to adhere to much of the EU employment regulation as Norway currently have to. And with no voting power over EU employment directives we would likely have less control over our employment laws rather than more.

What will happen to existing EU laws such as maternity entitlement, equality, equal pay and working time? It is likely that any attempt to repeal these rights would be met with fierce opposition by workers and trade unions. At the very least there would be several years of legislative confusion as domestic and EU law is untangled.

It is also worth considering the limited involvement the EU has over some of our domestic laws. In addition, exiting the EU would not affect the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, many of which have had an impact on employment law (for example the right not to be discriminated against).

Whether the outcome of the EU referendum is “in” or “out” the most significant effects on the UK workforce could be in terms of jobs won or lost. The impact of an “out” vote on employment law, particularly in the short to medium term, is likely to be minimal – indeed, it is possible this period could be characterised my much legislative confusion. The employment obligations imposed on UK employers are unlikely to diminish regardless of the outcome.