29 July 2016 by

The future…..with or without EU

It was only a month ago that we were given the news “we’re out” and it is widely accepted and understood that there is uncertainty for all issues surrounding Brexit, particularly in relation to possible changes to employment laws.

At this stage, you should therefore consider the following potential HR issues:

There may be delays to the introduction of new legislation coming in over the next couple of years, such as gender pay reporting or the new grandparents leave, so keep an eye on HR changes. This will have an impact if you are thinking about updating your handbooks and employment contracts.

Is someone in the organisation responsible for “Brexit” management? This could be as formal (or as informal) as your organisation requires and whilst this may be seen as relevant only for the large employers (KPMG has already appointed a head of “Brexit”), however it is worth someone within your organisation being particularly aware of the potential changes and the impact this will have on your business during this period of uncertainty.

With 9 out of 10 Europeans working in the UK admitting that they are worried about the impact of Brexit, if you employ EU nationals, reassure employees and address concerns.

Remind staff of the equal opportunities and harassment policies in terms of EU nationals. You have them so why not use them!

There is also a well publicised age split in voting trends, so there should be caution against the potential for age related jibes such as a reminder about insulting “older” or “younger” colleagues for their political views. Usually a quiet word is enough, but if necessary a record should be kept.

Consider an audit of your workforce in terms of where EU nationals work and their immigration status. We would advise that employers do not wait until formal decisions are made:

  • Communicate with employees and undertake a review of the business and workforce: where immigration status may be an issue; where low skilled workers are employed; or where you have particular plans which may be affected by Brexit.
  • EEA national workers who have been here more than 5 years can apply for permanent residence for the stability at a time of uncertainty as any Brexit deal would not then affect them individually. Is it worth doing this now?
  • For those who have been here less than 5 years they may wish to consider applying for an EEA Registration Certificate now, to show that they are in the UK exercising the right of freedom of movement.

Ultimately, much will depend upon how the UK trade settlements are negotiated in future and what agreements are reached but the key here is to be alert to changes happening.

For further advice in relation to Brexit and the implications for you as an individual or for your business please contact one of our solicitors in the Employment team here.

15 July 2016 by

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22 July 2016 by

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