Retained EU Law (Revocation & Reform) Bill

Wednesday 26th October 2022

This week saw the second reading of the Retained EU Law (Revocation & Reform) Bill. This Bill seeks to enable the government to more easily repeal, amend or replace any Retained EU Law, which was incorporated into the UK’s legal system following the end of the transition period.

Retained EU Law is a huge body of EU law consisting of regulations, decisions and legislation implementing EU directives, general principles of EU law and precedents set by the CJEU. Any Retained EU Law which has not been codified into UK law by 31 December 2023 will be repealed. Essentially, this will end the special status of Retained EU Law and reflects the government’s stated aim of reclaiming the sovereignty of Parliament.

The practical effect will be the immediate revocation on 1 January 2024 of numerous employment rights and obligations (unless otherwise codified into UK Law) and the removal of guiding EU principles and decisions which the UK Courts have relied upon to give a settled and predictable meaning to employment rights derived from both EU law and primary UK Acts of Parliament, such as the Equality Act 2010.   Areas of employment law which could be impacted include TUPE transfers, health and safety, working time, holiday pay, equal pay, part-time/fixed term worker rights and parental leave.

The Bill does provide options to preserve desired interpretative principles and other parts of EU law, but this requires positive action and does not require consultation with stakeholders. With such a far-reaching body of law and a short timeframe for review, concern has been expressed about the potential for significant instability, legal uncertainty, increased litigation and the likely adverse effects on business and investment.

Employers will need to ensure they are aware of developments as the review process continues and may find the Retained EU Law Dashboard useful. The Dashboard lists and describes all Retained EU law, providing a status update on each – UK Government - Retained EU Law Dashboard | Tableau Public

 We will provide further updates as the Bill progresses.

All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.