‘There is both a strong moral and economic case for extensive employment protections’
This is according to an October 2018 paper from IPPR looking at the future of employment rights after Brexit.
The paper explores how to guarantee a ‘level playing field’ for employment protections post Brexit. It finds that:
- The three key challenges for the ‘level playing field’ are its scope, what procedures should be in place for governing it, and what mechanisms there should be for updating the agreement over time.
- A ‘non-regression clause’ would stipulate that neither party may drop their labour standards below current levels. A standard non-regression clause however would be very limited in scope, and suffer from weak governance arrangements.
- An ‘enhanced’ non-regression clause would be an improvement on this, by widening the scope of a standard clause to include any loosening of employment standards, and specifying EU-derived legislation that both parties would commit to maintaining.
- There are multiple governance options for an enhanced clause. This could be via an ad-hoc arbitration panel with the ability to issue binding decisions; via an independent, third-party referral mechanism; or via a supranational court.
- To account for future legislation, the paper recommends a ‘common rulebook’ approach. This would contain a mechanism for updating itself as EU protections develop. This could be an automatic process, or allow for decisions on divergence on a case-by-case basis.
- The paper recommends the common rulebook approach as the most robust way to ensure a level playing field. However it recognises that this is unlikely to be workable in the event of a ‘low-integration’ future between the EU and UK. Under this scenario, the authors recommend an enhanced non-regression clause.