Protecting and enhancing worker rights after UK leaves EU

19 March 2019


Following the Government’s commitment to the largest upgrade to worker rights in a generation in the Matthew Taylor Review (Good Work Plan), new measures are being introduced which will protect worker rights after the UK leaves the EU.


This document ‘Protecting and enhancing worker rights after the UK withdrawal from the European Union’ sets out draft legislation regarding worker rights after the UK Withdrawal from the EU.


Geographical extent – the legislation will apply to England Wales and Scotland


The Government has stated that it is absolutely committed to protecting and enhancing the protections workers enjoy and that fulfilling the result of the referendum and leaving the EU will not come at the expense of workers’ rights.


In order to protect common UK-EU workers' rights provided for in EU law, which have been transposed into UK law, the Government will legislate such that where a Bill could affect employment or workplace health and safety standards, a Minister of the Crown in charge of that Bill must, before its Second Reading:


a)    Make a Statement of Compatibility of the Bill with the commitment to non-regression; and 

b)    Provide explanatory information to Parliament in support of the statement.


The UK already exceeds EU standards in many aspects of workers’ rights, and in that context, the Government believes that after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU it should be for Parliament to determine what rules are most appropriate, rather than automatically accepting EU changes. 


However, the Government also believes that Parliament should have the opportunity to consider any future changes to EU law after the Implementation Period which strengthen employment or workplace health and safety standards. For this reason, the draft clauses also provide for a process to enable Parliament to consider whether the UK should align with EU employment and health and safety rules on a case-by-case basis.


The Government believes that the approach set out in these draft clauses will provide a robust framework for the maintenance and strengthening of employment and health and safety standards as we leave the EU.