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Brexit Reform & Confirmation that the Sun has Set on the “Sunset Clause” (10 May)



On 10 May 2023, in answer to a question posed to the Department of Business and Trade  Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Department for Business published a Written Statement in which she said:

…However, with the growing volume of REUL being identified, and the risks of legal uncertainty posed by sunsetting instruments made under EU law, it has become clear that the programme was becoming more about reducing legal risk by preserving EU laws than prioritising meaningful reform. That is why today I am proposing a new approach: one that will ensure ministers and officials can focus more on reforming REUL and doing that faster.

Today the Government is tabling an amendment for Lords Report, which will replace the current sunset in the Bill with a list of the retained EU laws that we intend to revoke under the Bill at the end of 2023.

This provides certainty for business by making it clear which regulations will be removed from our statue book, instead of highlighting only the REUL that would be saved. We will retain the vitally important powers in the Bill that allow us to continue to amend EU laws, so more complex regulation can still be revoked or reformed after proper assessment and consultation. Today we also update the REUL dashboard, available on

We will still fully take back control of our laws and end the supremacy and special status of retained EU law by the end of 2023. We will also make our laws fit for UK purposes: reducing the regulatory burden and controlling the flow of new regulation. We will no longer tie business up in red tape.

As such, the Secretary of State has confirmed that the Government no longer intends to repeal all Retained EU laws (unless retained) by 31 December, effectively abandoning the controversial sunset clause. Instead, the current sunset clause will be replaced with a list of the retained EU laws that government intends to revoke under the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill at the end of 2023.

On same day, the Government then published its Policy Paper ‘Smarter Regulation To Grow The Economy’  in which it announced the first of these areas it intends to reform namely:
1. Working Time
3. Non-compete clauses

The Policy Paper confirms that further areas will be announced; it also published a News story entitled ‘Smarter regulation unveiled to cut red tape and grow the economy.’

Interestingly it recognises that that this may result in divergence between the devolved nations but states that UK government has been working jointly with them to develop UK Common Frameworks which are ‘designed to manage regulatory divergence.’

It remains to be seen how this will progress (if at all) in Northern Ireland given the lack of a functioning Executive.


  1. Working Time & Holiday Pay:
    In relation to working time there are proposing two main changes:
  • Reducing Working Time Regulations reporting burdens specifically in relation to recording working hours and other administrative requirements.
  • Reducing administrative burden and complexity of calculating holiday pay
  • Permitting rolled up holiday pay i.e. allowing workers to receive their holiday pay with every payslip.
  • Merging the current two separate leave entitlements into one pot of statutory annual leave (treating the 4 weeks derived from EU and additional 1.6 weeks provided by UK law the same way) while maintaining the same amount of statutory leave entitlement overall.
  1. Simplifying the Employment Regulations that apply when a Business Transfers to a New Owner (TUPE)
  • Currently, businesses cannot start consultation unless employee representatives are in place.
  • They propose removing this requirement for businesses with under 50 people and transfers affecting under 10 employees.
  1. Reforming Non-Compete Clauses to boost competition and innovation
  • Limiting non-compete clauses to 3 months.


The Government does plan to consult on the proposals with the aim that they improve how the regulations work without affecting the rights that really matter to workers. Business will certainly welcome any attempt to reduce the complexity for calculating holiday pay.  This will be a very welcome development for business and hopefully create more certainty in a somewhat uncertain commercial landscape. We will keep Members updated on any developments.