Government announces bespoke changes to EU employment law provisions
- AuthorMartin Cornforth
In a policy paper dated 10th May 2023, the Government announced it's intention to, "improve regulation following our departure from the EU, whilst maintaining UK labour standards," by proposing specific changes to the following aspects of employment law:
Reform of the Working Time Regulations
The proposals include:
- Reducing the administrative burden on businesses arising from requirements to record working hours.
- Introduction of rolled-up holiday pay. Although including holiday pay in normal salary is currently unlawful some organisations currently undertake this practice anyway due to closure periods such as school holidays.
- Merging European annual leave with the UK's additional leave and applying the same rules to each. Currently European case law only applies to the 20 days European leave, and not to the additional 8 days required in the UK. Presumably only UK case law would apply to the merged 28 days leave, which could have implications for including overtime and commission in holiday pay calculations, however the proposal does not deal with this point.
The proposal is to simplify consultation requirements when a business transfers by enabling employers to consult directly with staff if they have fewer than fifty employees and less than ten employees affected by the transfer. As such this would remove the requirement to elect employee representatives in certain circumstances, simplifying the process.
Many contracts of employment place restrictions on an employee's ability to compete with a former employer for a period of time after employment terminates. The proposals express concern that such restrictions can, "inhibit workers from looking for better paying roles, and limit the ability of businesses to compete and innovate."
Nonetheless the Government is not looking to outlaw post-termination restrictions but is proposing to place a statutory limit of three months on non-compete clauses. The proposals make it clear that any three month limit would not apply to notice periods or garden leave. The proposals also clarify that the Government is not looking to restrict non-solicitation clauses. As such businesses will still be able to restrict former staff from actively approaching their clients for a longer period of time