The final result in the UK's referendum on membership of the EU has been confirmed and it’s a vote for divorce. We are now in for a prolonged period of uncertainty. The following article published in the Employment Law Journal, deals with the employment law implications. Some of the issues we have already been discussing with clients are:
● What happens next?
The EU exit procedure is not designed to make it easy and it has only been exercised once – by Greenland. It is designed to be difficult because member states are not encouraged to leave. There will be a period of negotiation between the UK and the rest of the EU about the exact terms of exit.
● What will be the UK's trading arrangements with the EU?
In the immediate future they may not change significantly. Any negotiated deal for future trading relations would have to comply with WTO rules: if it does not negotiate a free trade agreement or join a customs union under WTO rules, any deal with the UK would have to be offered by the EU to all other WTO members. This might severely limit the UK's and the EU's freedom of manoeuvre. In addition, the UK would almost certainly no longer be part of the Single Market and all of the trade arrangements, including the trade arrangement with the EU, would need to be renegotiated.
● What about UK laws based on EU law?
It would be open to the UK to depart from the harmonised rules, which may be beneficial, but there is likely to be a cost associated with the changes and selling into EU from the UK would probably become more difficult over time.
● Will non-UK citizen employees from the another EU country be allowed to stay in the UK?
It is likely that citizens from other EU states will be allowed to continue working in the UK, but the rules may change over time and there may be some formalities to complete.
If you are interested in discussing these issues further, please get in touch with your usual contact at Fieldfisher or ring Rochelle Garnon on +44 (0)207 861 4004 who can divert you to the best person to discuss any specific questions you may have.