BREXIT - What do employers need to know?
Posted on 1st May 2017 at 15:54
Several weeks have passed now since the majority of UK voters chose to opt out of the European Union, but it’s still very much the topic of ongoing conversation. As the majority voted to leave the EU, it’s clear that big changes are ahead, and we’re moving into completely unchartered territory.
Regardless of what you think about the outcome from a personal point of view, there’s no denying that there are going to be some very real ramifications for employers.
Several people have asked me what I think the impact will be and what exactly do you need to know about moving forward? In this guide, I share my thoughts and what you should be aware of as a business leader.
Change isn’t going to happen overnight
Leaving the EU isn’t something that’s going to happen instantly. There’s a formal legal process that
has to be followed, and Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty must be activated before formal discussions will
take place around the finer details. After this point, there’s no turning back. At the moment though, there’s much debate around when this will even happen. Some commentators have anticipated that the process won’t be finalised until 2020.
Analysis by legal eagles Lewis Silkin suggested that it’s likely that in terms of employment law, things will largely stay the same. EU law is so deeply embedded in UK law that trying to pick things apart would be a long, complex, and unnecessary process.
So, the message at the moment is that we should carry on as usual, and big changes are certainly not anticipated any time soon.
Our current circumstances are favourable
CIPD has commented: ‘We have an appropriate employment regulation framework in the UK, providing sufficient flexibility for employers and appropriate employment protection for workers. We will be making this case to Government as the debate about the UK’s relationship with Europe develops.’
In short, we have things good here in the UK, and it’s unlikely that anyone will want to impose significant changes when it comes to legislation that impacts the workplace. Of course there are bits of EU law that are unfavourable to employers and the Government may choose to gradually reverse some of that law. At the moment I think it impossible to predict the future on this at all.
Your staff will have big questions
It’s natural for workers to be concerned about their futures during times like these. Right now, it’s likely that the rumour mill will be going into overdrive in workplaces up and down the UK, with plenty of speculation around job losses.
Communication is key, and you need to make sure that you’re openly and honestly speaking about what’s going to happen, wherever it’s realistic and possible to do so. Be open to questions, be transparent, and remind your workers that you’re all in this together.
If you employ any migrant workers their anxieties are likly to be hightened at the minute. As an employer you can reassure EU nationals that they are valued and support them if they apply for residency or passport. They should also get an understanding of the number of EU nationals in their workforce (which may not be straightforward) and consider quantifying their skills, qualifications and capabilities, advises the CIPD – this information may become relevant if there is a future requirement to apply for a right to work in the UK.
Stay tuned for further updates
The reality right now is that there’s a whole load of uncertainty, and any commentary on Brexit and what it will mean for employers really is just speculation at this stage. For now, the best advice that I can give you is to keep calm and carry on.
Of course, it’s likely that developments will unfold over the coming months. Be sure to sign up for our weekly updates so you’re kept up to date with everything you need to know.
If you’re concerned about the implications of Brexit and you’d like to speak with an expert about your circumstances, get in touch. We can arrange to have a no-obligation chat about the challenges that you’re facing.
Love to hear your thoughts.
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