The UK government confirms that it has no plans to transfer labor rights to the Scottish government

The UK Government has confirmed that there are no plans to delegate labor law to the Scottish Government.

During a debate in the House of Commons last week, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed that the government had “no intention of delegating employment rights legislation to the Scottish Government”. The government is of the view that both employers and employees benefit from a single system of employment rights and that ceding employment rights to Scotland risks creating a framework of employment rights two-tier employment scheme, as Scotland could adopt different policy and legislation to England and Wales, which would be costly and cumbersome for businesses operating across the UK. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary also expressed the Government’s belief that for the UK labor market to function effectively it requires a coherent underlying legislative framework and that devolution could disadvantage workers by “remove the free movement of labor between England and Scotlandbecause a number of people live in Scotland but work in England and vice versa.

As things stand, labor law therefore remains a matter reserved for the British government and the current government does not seem to want to change this position. This should be good news for employers who operate sites across the UK.

Whilst decentralization of the Scottish Employment Tribunals is currently planned, the Department of Justice has confirmed that this will not take place before 2025. The drafting of the Order in Council is still ongoing and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary has confirmed that once drafting is complete, the UK and Scottish governments will seek to agree a timetable for the devolution of the first tranche of courts. Therefore, for the time being at least, the existing judicial system in Scotland remains in place. As many know, one of the main differences between court hearings in Scotland compared to England or Wales is the importance of gathering evidence from witnesses through oral examinations rather than written witness statements – this also remains the case.

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