People are key assets in any business. Restrictions on free movement and potential changes in employment law could have significant implications for some businesses. Future workforce arrangements will need to be planned now to avoid business delivery being compromised when Brexit is implemented. Companies may need to consider where staff are based and office locations to maximise opportunities post-Brexit. Creation of new roles to implement a revised business strategy may be needed. One of the key areas for strategic consideration is the future mix of talent and skills, and investment in recruitment plans and upskilling to mitigate potential shortfalls. Whilst navigating this uncertain period, reassurance and advice for existing staff is critical to maintain productivity, reduce insecurity and avoid loss of key staff.
Possible Opportunities and Challenges
With Brexit possibly affecting mobility and the future employment rights of staff, it is important as an employer to understand what steps can be taken now to provide advice to employees, but also how this may impact a business’s ability to deliver to its customers. Senior leaders within businesses should consider talking to their staff now about the implications of Brexit on the business and their employment. Uncertainty, fear and misunderstanding may result in staff feeling insecure and unsettled. In particular, European employees living and working in the UK will be vulnerable to fears about job security.
Following Brexit, free movement of EU nationals between into UK may no longer be possible. Consequently, businesses could face restrictions on employment of current and new EU staff and the movement of UK staff to EU to deliver services. Businesses need to remain informed on changes to immigration law, exploring possible outcomes well in advance to avoid losing key personnel. If your business is largely dependent on employment of EU staff for resource or skill sets, you will need to consider and scenario plan future workforce arrangements to provide future resilience.
See below for UK Gov technical notices regarding workforce planning.
Access to skills
Some businesses are already facing a growing skills shortage with strong competition being seen for well qualified talent. With changes to the immigration system, retention could be increasingly difficult, as could accessing pools of skilled labour. Post Brexit, companies will have to actively plan workforce arrangements and invest in recruitment activities to competitively attract staff. Consider alternative avenues, such as training programmes or apprenticeship schemes to mitigate these risks.
Recognition of qualifications will change when we leave the EU. Find out more about the recognition qualifications for EU citizens working in the UK and UK citizens operating in the EEA on the GOV.UK Website and by reading the Employer Toolkit – Cymraeg, English.
Changes in employment law
EU legislation has strongly influenced UK employee protection legislation over the past 20 years or so. Futures changes will depend on the extent to which the UK Government decides to revise laws. Resources may be required to update policies and procedures as changes occur. Brexit may also result in changes to employment contracts for people working in the UK. Businesses employing EU workers will need to ensure they have the right to work in the UK, in the same way as for non-EU nationals, and all administration should be completed in advance of changes to avoid losing key members of staff.
EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit
The scheme is for EU citizens resident in the UK who will need to apply this status in order to be able to continue to live and work in the UK. GOV.UK have produced a range of material for employers and employees on the scheme which are available on the GOV.UK website.
Employing EU seasonal workers after the UK leaves the EU
The UK Government has produced a leaflet and information to help employers recruit EU citizens for seasonal work in farming and food businesses after Brexit. - Employing EU seasonal workers after the UK leaves the EU leaflet.
Flow of Data
It is important to check what your business needs to do to prepare for upcoming changes to data protection. This is particularly relevant to UK businesses and organisations which:
- operate in European Economic Area (the EEA), which includes the EU
- send or receive personal data from international partners, including the EEA
What your business or organisation needs to do now
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has set out 6 steps and further guidance your business or organisation should take to prepare for EU exit in a no deal scenario. See below for UK Gov technical notices on personal data.
UK Government have released a series of technical notices which are available on the GOV.UK website including:
- European Social Fund (ESF) grants if there’s no Brexit deal
- Recognition of seafarer certificates of competency if there’s no Brexit deal
- Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal
Staff Travel / Residence in the EU
- Travelling in the Common Travel Area if there’s no Brexit deal
- UK nationals living in the EU: essential information
- Passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit
- Passenger consumer rights when travelling to the EU after Brexit
- Citizens' rights: UK and Irish nationals in the Common Travel Area
- Aviation security for passengers and cargo if there’s no Brexit deal
Staff who are non UK Citizens
- Staying in the UK for longer than 3 months if there's no Brexit deal
- European Temporary Leave to Remain in the UK
- EU Settlement Scheme employer toolkit: Welsh materials
- EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit
- Erasmus+ and ESC in the UK if there's no Brexit deal
- Workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal
- UK, EU and EFTA legal professionals after Brexit
- Appointing nominated persons to your business if there’s no Brexit deal
- Consumer rights if there's no Brexit deal
- Recognition of professional qualifications: guidance for regulatory bodies