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Will Brexit Affect HR for Employers?

View profile for Natasha Johnston
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We may have ushered in a new year but if Brexit was the hot topic of 2018, it remains the hot topic of 2019.  

There are a number of unresolved issues on the minds of the business community, regarding Brexit, with HR being a key concern. While it seems likely that some impact upon businesses HR functions will be 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 electorate’s decision to leave the EU on 24 June 2016, from a HR perspective, is the right to work within the UK for those employees from within the EEA who are not British nationals.  These employees have so far relied upon the free movement provisions and they bring with them skills and qualifications that are being well-used within the UK labour market.  So, many businesses will be nervous about losing valuable staff members to any post-Brexit changes.

With the final Brexit deal still in the air, business owners and the HR Function are concerned about the practicalities of Brexit. However, the UK and the EU have agreed that there will be an implementation period, whereby EEA Citizens will be able to continue to rely upon the exiting free movement provisions, which will give employers time to prepare for the eventual end of these provisions.  Another promising measure is the government’s Settlement Scheme which allows EEA Nationals currently living in the UK, and their families, to apply for Settled status if they wish to remain living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

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 Natasha Johnston on 01792 525478 or by emailing: natasha.johnston@jcpsolicitors.co.uk.  

Natasha is a HR Advisor within JCP's HR Services team. The team provide outsourced HR support and ongoing advice and guidance to the firm's business clients. Natasha’s experience includes providing HR advice and guidance on complex HR issues such as attendance, grievance, capability and disciplinary matters.  Natasha can also provide advice and support on policy drafting and implementation, TUPE and Redundancy processes. 

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