Following the results of the referendum on 23rd June 2016, the UK Government will now have to negotiate a new trading relationship with what will now be 27 member states, in order to allow companies based in the UK to continue to sell their products and services to EU countries without being penalised by high trade tariffs or restrictions.
The process is likely to take some time, perhaps upwards of two years so it’s unlikely that anything will happen fast.
The results of these negotiations will be critical. The UK could follow the Norwegian model which would give us access to the single market but free us from certain EU rules relating to agriculture, fisheries and home affairs or instead the Swiss model where negotiation will need to be on a country by country basis.
Depending on the model ultimately chosen, the UK may remain bound by some European employment laws, as EU countries may not enter in to trade and other agreements with us if we were able to undercut them by allowing companies to employ workers on less onerous (and hence cheaper and thus undercutting the other country’s businesses).
In addition, the vast majority of employment law directives that have originated from the EU have been subsequently implemented as UK Regulations and thus will remain binding unless the UK Government choose to repeal any of them.
Whilst we can’t be sure what will happen, we can offer some predictions, assuming of course that UK has full freedom to repeal all EU employment laws.
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