Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform Bill)

At the end of September, the Government published this Bill which could potentially lead to sweeping changes in employment law in the UK.  Essentially the Bill is about de-regulating following Brexit and would allow the Government to remove large sections of legislation derived from the EU, much of which impacts upon employment law in particular.

Under the terms on which the UK left the European Union (European Union Withdrawal Act 2018) laws from the EU that were in existence on or before 31st December 2020 were preserved and became known as “Retained Law”.  The Bill proposes to repeal EU derived laws by the end of 2023, with an option to extend.  The Bill’s proposal is also to change the present principle that EU law is binding, unless the Government departs from it.  If this all progresses, then the Government has to try to decide which retained laws to keep and which to bin and there are, well, quite a lot of them.


Whilst many employers would like to see the back of a fair amount of EU law relating to employment, there is a great danger of turmoil and uncertainty if such decisions are rushed through.  Right-wing and left-wing commentators are particularly concerned given the automatic revocation principle in the Bill that it may simply create massive uncertainty, which is not good for employers or employees alike.

It is also not clear how the EU would react to such a move which may put the Government in breach of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.