Note: a subsequent legal change has affected the accuracy of this material.

A UK Brexit will allow Parliament to disapply EU legislation, meaning that many employment rights that people take for granted (e.g. minimum wage, working time directive, human rights) could be modified or removed by Parliament.

The upcoming general election due in June 2017 will undoubtedly have an effect on employment rights as they exist today.

The three major parties, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats, have all published their manifestos. This article summarises the main employment law implications of each manifesto.

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party manifesto will:

  • Ensure workers will enjoy the same rights after Brexit as they do currently under EU law;
  • Consider watering down human rights law;
  • Ensure that the National Living Wage will continue to be increased in line with the target of reaching 60% of average earnings by 2020; and
  • Introduce a new right for all employees to request unpaid time off for training.

Labour Party

The Labour Party manifesto:

  • Ensures all current EU rights will be guaranteed after Brexit;
  • Bans zero hours contracts;
  • Promises to work with trade unions to ensure that there are fair rules to prevent the exploitation of migrant workers;
  • Abolishes employment tribunal fees; and
  • Extends the time period for a maternity discrimination claim from 3 to 6 months.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats manifesto promises:

  • A second Brexit referendum;
  • A right for workers on zero hours contracts to request a fixed term contract;
  • To abolish tribunal fees;
  • To end the NHS pay freeze; and
  • To guarantee the rights of all NHS and social care staff from the EU to stay in the UK.

As you can see from the above, the precise effect this election will have on employment law will vary considerably depending upon the result of the election. It will be fascinating to see what happens in the election and how quickly any changes get introduced.