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Will Brexit Affect HR for Employers?

View profile for Catherine Almeida
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With the way the UK will eventually leave the EU still very much up in the air, understandably businesses are cautious in how they tackle Brexit preparations, particularly those with employees using their right to free movement within the EEA to legally work within the UK.

On the one hand they want to be able to undertake meaningful workforce planning in the event any EU Nationals choose not to remain in the UK, however, on the other, ensuring employee relations remain cordial and the desire not to want to cause upset or uncertainty regarding job security is a tightrope many companies are walking at present. 

In short, some impact is unavoidable, the key to successfully navigating the potential impact of Brexit will be preparation. 

One of the key issues that has been debated since the decision to leave the EU on 24 June 2016 from an HR perspective is the right to work within the UK for those employees who may be from within the EEA but are not British nationals.  These employees have relied upon the free movement provisions and bring with them many skills and qualifications that have undoubtedly enhanced the UK labour market.  For many businesses losing valuable staff due Brexit will be something to be avoided.   

Bearing this in mind, there are some practical steps business owners can take now in order to prepare for post-Brexit changes.

  • Audit your staff database: Review staff nationality and their work locations so you know who is on your books and who may be affected by any regulation changes.  
  • Assess the impact to your business. Once you know how many employees may be affected by Brexit you can assess whether you need professional legal advice regarding how to minimise any impact upon your business.
  • Establish a team: The Prime Minister isn’t the only leader who relies upon a Brexit team to advise and support her. Many firms would be wise to put one in place too, so you have sufficient resources to ensure compliance with any changes. Businesses will need their legal, HR and IT teams on board to bring together the necessary skills and expertise to develop and implement a compliance programme.
  • Create a Brexit Programme: Once the initial impact assessment has been conducted you will be able to produce and develop a tailored programme to manage the potential changes Brexit will bring. This programme should be regularly reviewed as more information comes to light about the shape of the UK’s Brexit.

If you would like to discuss the contents of this article further, please feel free to contact our Employment & HR Services team on 03333 208644 or by emailing: