Is Brexit an opportunity for Britain to take competitive advantage or will the political implications, the complexity and interwoven nature of EU and UK laws and the need for a trade deal with Brussels simply mean a continuation of the status quo?

First, let us be clear that there is no need for employers to have any immediate concerns over Brexit. Employment laws remain unchanged in the aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU are going to take a long time – years rather than months. Furthermore, EU and UK employment laws are now so closely interwoven that it would be a brave government which chose to unpick them. It is, of course, potentially an area where Britain could attempt to seize competitive advantage by making its labour market more attractive to multinational employers but the EU negotiators will be wary of any attempt to do so at the expense of their own member states. Any attempt to water down UK workers’ rights would be a political minefield for any government.

Nevertheless, there are areas of employment law in which change might be explored. They include, for example:

The Working Time Directive 

  • The government could allow greater flexibility to employers by removing the restriction of a maximum 48-hour working week and simplifying the very complex provisions for paid holidays.

Discrimination claims

  • They could impose a cap on compensation for discrimination claims.


  • They could allow greater flexibility to employers when transferring a business and relax the requirements for consultation.

The Agency Workers’ Directive

  • They could amend this directive, which gives the same rights to agency staff as to permanent employees.

Capital Requirements Directive

  • Most importantly for the City of London, they could relax this directive, which puts our financial service providers at a significant disadvantage to the USA and Far East when hiring top level staff.

Whatever the government may negotiate or change in the coming months and years, it will be vital for employers to keep abreast of the changes in an area of their businesses which will directly impact them both in Europe and on the global stage.

For further information on the implications of Brexit on your business or to enquire about any of the employment law services provided by Doswell Law please call Henry Doswell on 01233 722942 or email him at

Disclaimer: Whilst every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary contained in this article accurate and up to date, Henry Doswell takes no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it. The information and commentary in this article does not constitute legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter.