What’s Next for Employment Law Now?
The results are in. And the UK is out. But what does this mean for employment law?
Well, in the short-term, nothing – we’re still a member of the EU for at least two years, so still bound by European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments, and cases such as British Gas v Lock – a case determining whether commission should be included in regular wages (which is going to the Court of Appeal) – will still be determined in accordance with the ECJ’s views.
In the medium term, still probably no change, as many employment laws in the UK go further than the EU directives require: i.e. the UK provides 28 days of annual leave, as opposed to 20 days required by EU directives, and the laws that apply to the 20 days and the extra 8 days actually differ. It’s not likely that employees or workers are going to see any rights lost.
In the longer term, who knows? Unless or until UK employment law is changed, case law stands, even if it was influenced by judgments of the ECJ. But as case law has to be interpreted by individual employment tribunals, it’s feasible that a tribunal may consider a senior court’s judgment – a court with binding judgments on the tribunal – was only interpreted any particular law based on an ECJ judgment, and will therefore seek to dismiss its relevance, taking a view that the senior court didn’t intend its judgment to apply if we are not bound by the ECJ judgments. That’s feasible, but whether it’s probable is anyone’s guess.
The only certainty now for employers is you will have no idea what laws or commitments will apply to you in the future. And in fairness, nor will your advisors! While we’ll all be scrambling in the dark somewhat, we can’t offer any more certainties than anyone else in the coming months & years, but we’re certainly ready to hold your hand in these days of uncertainty, give considered explanations & reasons for any position we take.