Press Releases and Research

Women’s Organisations Condemn The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill poses a significant threat to women’s rights. The Bill proposes to automatically sweep away thousands of pieces of legislation and upend decades-worth of case law. Many of these laws give women access to critical protections and benefits that are necessary to ensure we are safe in the workplace and protected from discrimination.

Important rights that could be lost or could become more difficult to assert due to legal uncertainty include:

1) Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which implements the health and safety requirements of the Pregnant Workers Directive (92/85/EEC) into UK law.

2) The Part Time Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, and Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. As well as agency worker rights. Many more women than men work part time, in insecure work, and on fixed term contracts therefore losing or diluting this law will increase discrimination towards women.

3) Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999. This doesn’t only include the right to take maternity and parental leave, but also current protections against redundancy whilst on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave; and the right to return to the same job after maternity or parental leave, where this is reasonably practicable.

4) Collective consultation with worker representatives when redundancies are proposed. We are currently witnessing a spike in redundancies for pregnant women and new mums as a result of the economic challenges.

5) The loss of ‘direct effect’ which would make it more challenging to bring an equal pay claim or a discrimination claim.

Ministers have yet to explain which laws they intend to retain, to amend or allow to expire. The Regulatory Policy Committee put a “red rating” on the impact assessment of the Bill as “not fit for purpose”. Michael Ford KC states in advice to the TUC: “It is difficult to overstate the significance of EU law in protecting against sex discrimination.”

That is why we are calling on MPs and Lords to oppose this Bill until Ministers are able to specify exactly which laws they intend to retain. The hard won rights of women are at risk, allowing this Bill to pass without clarification of its potential damage would be reckless.


Joeli Brearley, CEO of Pregnant Then Screwed

Claire Reindorp, CEO of The Young Women’s Trust

Victoria Benson, CEO of Gingerbread

Sara Reis, CEO of The Women’s Budget Group

Jane van Zyl, CEO of Working Families

Paul Nowak, General Secretary of The Trades Union Congress


For media enquiries, contact:

Celia Venables

[email protected]

07756 525 004


Case studies are available upon request. 

Press Releases and Research

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