They included a key judgment from 2006 on equal pay that means employers who pay men more than women have to explain why the difference is not due to discrimination.
Others included judgments from and 2020 that stopped the practice of rolling holiday pay into wages and employers refusing to pay allowances as part of paid leave. Judgments on pregnant women from 2019 and 2006, which ruled against employers refusing to employ women when they found out they were pregnant, were also included. The (Brexit) Minister James Duddridge confirmed that “each of the cases named in the parliamentary questions will be categorized as retained EU law” under the bill. Nandy claims this gives ministers a new power to tell lower courts dealing with routine cases that they can set aside EU case law when making judgments. This has led to fears that standards could be set at a lower level than current EU rules.
Julian Smith, the Northern Ireland secretary, also confirmed that the legal obligation not to roll back EU law on discrimination against women in work applied only in Northern Ireland, not the rest of the UK. In a parliamentary question asking whether specific EU council directives on equal employment rights would apply to the whole of the UK, Smith replied that they applied to “Northern Ireland only”. Downing Street has insisted that details on workers’ rights would be contained in a new employment bill to ensure that the country was the “best place in the world to work” and that they would not be watered down.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said in December: “Once Brexit is done, we will continue to lead the way and set a high standard, building on existing employment law with measures which protect those in low-paid work.
“This is on top of the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation that the government is bringing forward. ”