Work and Pensions

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Review of the Year

Employment law issues post Brexit

The Prime Minister has gone on record as saying that the Government is not interested in making major changes to employment law post Brexit. However, a recent survey by GQ Employment Law found that, while employers generally shared the Prime Minister’s view that no major change is required, the one major exception to this consensus is the simmering annoyance many businesses feel over the European Court of Justice (CoJ) ruling on sick pay and holiday pay. The Court found that employees who are long-term absentees from work, due to chronic illness or disability, are still entitled to holiday pay. The idea that a sick person who is not working should be able to take a paid break from work flies in the face of common sense for many employers. The whole point of holiday pay is to provide an opportunity for employees to take a

rejuvenating break and return to work refreshed. That someone who is not at work should need a break from work seems nonsensical, and employers generally feel that the CoJ’s judgement is unfair to them. This is one area, at least, that employment lawyers feel could be usefully addressed post Brexit. A second ‘minor change’ could be over the fact that unlike unfair dismissal claims, which are capped, claims based on discrimination are uncapped. The argument from the employers’ side is that leaving discrimination claims uncapped adds massively to the uncertainty of outcome in such cases. This tends to force employers to take a commercial view on settling claims outside the tribunal which they feel are unjustified, simply because contesting the case would leave them open to an unknown but potentially very significant compensation order.

The impact that leaving the European Court of Justice may have on employment law is difficult to predict

16 | REVIEW OF THE YEAR

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