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The Equality and Diversity Forum has produced a briefing paper on the European Union, in anticipation of the referendum on the issue on 23 June 2016.  

The briefing summarises how membership of the EU has affected equality legislation in the UK, and considers the possible impact of leaving the EU, focusing on the development of new legislation and the status of existing legislation.

The EU has influenced UK law in many key areas. The focus of this paper is on the introduction and enhancement of rights in relation to discrimination. Other relevant areas include access to paid holidays and other working time provisions, improved health and safety protection, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off from work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part time, fixed term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers and rights for workers' representatives to receive information and be consulted, particularly in the context of job restructuring. 

"The EU has played an important role in both developing and safeguarding equality legislation in the UK" the report states. "This has brought significant public benefit and a legacy that has strengthened protection from discrimination, enabled many thousands of people to challenge unfair treatment, and helped employers to create more inclusive and more competitive workplaces.    

"Whether the UK remains in or leaves the EU, it will be essential for us all – government, employers’ organisations, and civil society – to protect and build on that legacy."

To read the full report, click here.