Over time, both the volume and complexity of employment law that originates in the EU has grown considerably.
When the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, membership brought with it few requirements in the field of employment regulation. The Treaty of Rome contained an article committing member states to enforce the principle of equal pay for equal work between men and women, but this was already in the process of being introduced in the UK at that time.
Later, as the European Economic Community changed into the European Community and more recently into the European Union (EU), it has become more and more common for all member states to legislate in order to give effect to employment laws which …show more content…
European Regulations also have direct effect. They are quite specific, narrowly focused, and come into effect on a set date. For the most part they are uncontroversial and are used to amend existing law in relatively minor ways.
There are very few European Regulations that have any great relevance in employment law. Those that exist mainly concern health and safety. An example is the European Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) which sets out in complex detail how the most hazardous chemical substances should be handled so as to minimise the risks to human health. The bulk of this regulation came into effect in 2007, but aspects are being phased in over a ten year period.
It is through European Directives that the vast majority of EU employment law comes to be made. They set out general principles which each Member State is then obliged to adopt into its own national law. This approach allows governments and parliaments a degree of flexibility in how exactly they choose to 'give effect' to the principles set out in the Directive.
Once a Directive has been endorsed by all the relevant EU institutions, Member States are given a period of time to give it effect through their national laws. This varies. For example, when the