All EU-derived employment law and directly effective EU employment legislation has continued to apply to the UK during the implementation period, and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has continued to have jurisdiction in the UK, but this all comes to an end in less than a month, after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
What to expect in 2021?
So, what changes to UK employment law can we expect? It has been suggested that a number of changes could be on the horizon:
- A cap could be introduced on discrimination awards.
- Trade union recognition could be made more difficult and it is likely that there will be further restrictions on strikes in the transport sector.
- Changes could be made to the Working Time Regulations, including the right of workers on long-term sick leave to accrue holiday and carry over unused holiday entitlement to the next leave year, limiting holiday pay to basic pay and abolishing the 48-hour limit on working time.
- Rights under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) could be reduced. For example, it could become easier to harmonise terms and conditions or to dismiss employees on a transfer. Service provision changes could also be taken out of the scope of TUPE.
- Protection for agency workers could be reduced.
Employers will be waiting with bated breath for news of any developments regarding a trade deal with the EU, as will so many businesses that have been navigating through uncertainty over the past four years, exacerbated this year by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought its own set of challenges.