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Researchers Warn of Possible Erosion of Employment Rights Post-Brexit

A recent briefing paper from the University of Warwick has warned that Brexit could have a negative impact on employment rights for parents and carers in the UK. 

According to the paper, the UK has become a leader over the last 20 years in creating an employment culture that promotes work-family balance and assists working parents. These rights derive from UK and EU laws, and while family-friendly rights are entrenched, other rights essential to balancing work and family are more controversial and risk being eroded after Brexit.

Policies at risk of being eroded after Brexit include limits on working hours derived from the EU Working Time Directive, and the rights of ‘atypical’ workers on part-time, casual or fixed-term contracts. The paper explains that these regulations have helped to promote better gender equality in the workplace:-

  • Many British men already work in excess of 48 hours per week, say researchers. Long working hours make it more difficult for men to balance work and family life, and reinforce gender inequalities in pay and progression.
  • Historically, flexible roles were filled by women needing to reconcile work and family obligations. Before employment protections derived from EU directives were introduced, these roles were often associated with poor employment conditions, lack of benefits, no access to training, and unequal pay.

“The gains made over the last two decades are significant, but recent evidence shows that much more effort is necessary to deliver on the promise of a ‘family friendly’ workplace,” said author of the paper, Dr Ania Zbyszewska.

“This is not the time to turn back the clock on the rights that make reconciliation of work and family possible, and enable both women and men to enjoy a more equal share of the joys and burdens of professional and domestic work,” she added.

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