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Issue date

2 June 2016

Over 520,000 part-time and temporary workers in the East Midlands risk losing rights under Brexit, warns TUC

Over 520,000 part-time and temporary employees in the East Midlands, along with over 600,000 parents, risk losing rights at work if the UK leaves the European Union, the TUC has warned.

Rights guaranteed for these groups under EU law include time off for parents to spend with their children, and for part-time and temporary employees to have equal pay, holidays, pensions and benefits as any permanent or full-time colleagues doing similar jobs.

If the UK leaves the EU, these rights would no longer be guaranteed. As outlined in a recent legal opinion by Michael Ford QC, a post-Brexit government could weaken or entirely remove these rights – something which senior Leave campaigners have already called for.

Boris Johnson, for example, has demanded Britain “scrap” the European basis for these rights. He described the protections for workers as a “back-breaking” burden on business.

TUC Regional Secretary for the East Midlands, Lee Barron, said:

“Voting to leave the EU is a massive risk for working people across the East Midlands – particularly women. Women are far more likely to be in part-time or temporary work, and many rely on parental rights to look after their children.

“Brexit cheerleaders have already shown how eager they are to undermine our working rights. Leaving the EU gives them free rein to peel away our protections against bad bosses.

“Generations of trade unionists fought for workers’ rights to be legally guaranteed. A Brexit could gamble them away.”

- Three quarters of part-time workers are women, and the majority of workers on temporary contracts are women. 

- Nationally, there are 7,556,185 part-time and temporary workers who are entitled to equal treatment if there is a full-time or permanent worker in a similar job to them.

- Nationally, there are 8,302,761 working parents with a child under 18, who have been in their place of work for a year or more. These working parents are entitled to 18 weeks’ parental leave per child.

- All figures are drawn from the ONS Labour Force Survey for Q4 of 2015.  Exact numbers for the East Midlands are 526,260 part-time and temporary workers, and 602,235 working parents. The number of parents benefitting from parental leave consists of employees with a child under 18, who has been at their place of work for a year or more.

- The EU Social Chapter is the basis for the Fixed Term Workers Directive, the Part-Time Workers Directive, and the Parental Leave Directive. They implement a series of EU-level agreements between employers and trade unions.

- Boris Johnson called on the government to “scrap the social chapter” in December 2012: In September 2015 he repeated the call for Britain to drop “all that social chapter stuff”: He referred to EU employment regulations as “back-breaking” in August 2014:

- The TUC has written two briefings on EU rights at risk for working parents ( and part-time and temporary workers.

- The TUC commissioned a legal opinion from Michael Ford QC, setting out how various EU-derived rights would be at risk following a Brexit. This includes the rights mentioned above, along with maternity protections, rights for outsourced workers and agency workers. The report can be read here:

- All TUC press releases can be found at

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews

Contacts for the East Midlands:
Rob Johnston T: 0121 236 4454 E:

National contacts:
Alex Rossiter  T: 020 7467 1285  M: 07887 572130  E:
Tim Nichols  T: 020 7467 1388  M: 07808 761844  E:
Michael Pidgeon  T: 020 7467 1372  M: 07717 531150  E:
Elly Gibson (Mon to Thurs)  T: 020 7467 1337  M: 07900 910624  E:

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