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Benefits of the EU: Employment Rights

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    I saw a Facebook post where a Brexit supporter explained that the EU hadn't benefited worker's rights. The post explained that the UK had legislated for better rights than the EU had given us.

    The person who posted this statement went on to say that the UK could take care of its own workers and we didn't need the EU.

    A prominent employment law barrister has responded to similar claims - and here's a summary:

    Right to paid holiday
    The Brexit claim is that the UK legislated for this long before the EU.

    The truth is that the 1938 law only gave paid holiday leave to certain groups of workers. The periods of leave were short - some workers could only have a weeks leave per year.

    In 1975, some of this act was repealed and there was no statutory right to paid leave. The EU stepped in - and the UK fought hard to resist moves to bring in mandatory minimum periods of paid leave. It even took the matter to court. Luckily it lost.

    The Brexit claim is that we had laws on sex and and race discrimination before we joined the EU/EEC.

    The truth is that this is a lie. We joined the EEC in 1973. Laws regarding discrimination were passed after this, in 1975.

    Equal Pay
    The Brexit claim is that the UK had equal pay in 1970 before we joined the EEC.

    The EU got there before us again! The right to equal pay was dealt with in the Treaty of Rome - signed in 1957. The Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1970 but didn't come into force until 1973, when we joined the EEC... at which point we had to work on our equal pay laws bringing them into line with Europe's.

    Maternity Pay
    The Brexit claim is that the UK is more generous then the rights set out by the EU.

    The truth is that the UK's provisions are more generous. The EU has identified that they could do more - so they voted to increase the level of paid maternity leave. The proposals were blocked by the Council - Chris Grayling MP blocked them on behalf of the UK.

    So while it is nice that Brexit fans want a more generous level of maternity leave, they really need to blame one of their own for this...

    Credit goes to Sean Jones QC.

    A good demonstration on how the EU has increased worker's rights beyond what the UK government was prepared to do. I'm without doubt that if we left the EU, many of the very important employment rights that the EU have given us would be torn up. From working time requirements, protection for agency workers, health and safety rules to name just a few.
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