Brexit has a lot of people worried for all sorts of reasons. Many of those who voted to leave the EU back in 2016 are now feeling an uncomfortable twang of uncertainty in their stomachs, although of course there are the staunch leavers who just want Prime Minister Boris Johnson to see Brexit through even if that means the UK getting no deal from the EU.


Many different people, with many different opinions.


A group that often feel overlooked, however, are the low earners and in particular the low earners living in the UK who are originally from EU countries. Those who do jobs that we all need doing but struggle to make a prosperous living such as couriers, waiters and cleaners. What will Brexit mean for them?


The Brexit worries of the low paid workers:


Employment rights that low paid workers are currently entitled to in the UK on the basis of EU-laws include:


  • minimum paid holiday
  • working hours regulation
  • equal pay
  • protection against discrimination
  • consultation on redundancy plans


The Home Office has released statements ensuring these EU-law derived employment rights will remain in UK law after Brexit.


However, if a no-deal Brexit goes ahead, the Independent Workers Union says ministers would have the option to alter and change these rights which might well leave low paid workers in a worse position that they are in currently. They say that the workers could no longer rely on the supremacy of EU law, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights or Court of Justice when disputes are taken to court.


In fact, right now the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), is relying upon these aspects of EU law in a number of worker’s rights court cases.


One major example is the case that Alexander Marshall, the chair of the IWGB’s couriers and logistics branch, has found himself in. He said:


“Without the EU charter of fundamental rights and the European court it would have been impossible for my colleagues and I to bring the landmark £1m holiday pay claim against our employer, The Doctors Laboratory.”


Other concerns:


A no deal Brexit could leave many workers vulnerable to being mistreated, as the EU laws that are currently being adhered to by the UK which reserve their rights to paid holidays and protection from discrimination could potentially be disregarded.


The Benn Act:


In answer to Boris Johnson’s repeated claim that he will allow the UK to leave without a deal on October 31, members of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain are claiming to challenge this using the Benn Act (2019), which would force him to delay Brexit to 31 January 2020.


The Benn Act can be called upon if the House of Commons does not give its consent to either a withdrawal agreement or leaving without a deal by 19 October 2019. However, it is suspected that Boris Johnson and his team have been examining ways to nullify this new law, which the Prime Minister has repeatedly called the ‘Surrender Act’.


Only time will tell if Boris Johnson will respect the Benn Act, or of the UK will indeed be leaving the EU without a deal.


We are here to help:


If you have any questions about this topic, whether you are the employer or employee, or are in need of legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 7928 0276 or email into for a consultation.


Our litigation team is ready and equipped to fight your corner in all matters of concerns, from mistreatment in the workplace, wills and probate claims, property and inheritance/tax matters, employment and contractual disputes, and everything in between, whether in UK or with countries beyond.


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