News | Published March 06 2019

Government to consult trade unions and businesses on workers’ rights post-Brexit

Theresa May has today announced plans to give business, trade unions and parliament a greater role in determining workers rights following Brexit. Following the government’s commitment to undertake “the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation”, they have announced new measures to ensure rights are protected and enhanced following Britain’s departure from the EU.

The government have also proposed combining various enforcement bodies to become one single labour market agency. This body would have a duty to consult unions and employment unions on its work.

Parliament will be given a right to vote on adopting any future EU regulation concerning workers’ rights that improves standards or safety, choosing whether to adopt it into British law.

The government has also stated that it will “consult with trade unions and business on future workers’ rights proposals.”

The process of parliamentary adoption will begin in earnest when parliament considers two new EU directives: the Work Life Balance Directive and the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive. The government has already voted in favour of these proposals in the European Council and they will subsequently be put before parliament.

The Work Life Balance Directive introduces new rights for parents and carers, such as two months of paid leave for each parent up until the child is eight years old and also five days of leave for those caring for sick relatives.

The Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive will set the terms of employment by the first working day and provides more stability for shift workers. The government states that it has already “committed to many of these measures.”

Theresa May commented that: “We have as a country led the way in workers’ rights while maintaining a flexible labour market. The enormous success of our jobs market and the wealth of opportunities for workers across the nation have long been underpinned by the policies and standards that exceed the minimums set by the EU and that has been driven by successive governments of all parties.”

She added, “After Brexit it should be for Parliament to decide what rules are most appropriate, rather than automatically accepting EU changes.”

Business secretary Greg Clarke concurred, stating: “The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of establishing and improving the rights of working men and women from Shaftesbury’s Factories Acts, through William Hague’s Disability Discrimination Act to the Minimum Wage introduced by a Labour government, bolstered into the National Living Wage by a Conservative government.”

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
March 06 2019

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