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Employment

You’re Joking, Not Another One!

Brexit - not another delay

Friday, November 8, 2019

We all empathised with Brenda from Bristol when she made this exclamation in a Vox pop for the BBC following Theresa May’s announcement of a snap election April 2017. Fast forward two and a half years and guess what?  Here we are again but not just the frustration of a Festive Fight for the right to host Christmas at No.10 but yet another delay to the Brexit process taking us up to 31st January 2020.

Meanwhile, the UK business community is still none the wiser as to the direction of our dealings with the EU to help in efforts to manage staff, imports, exports or European travel.

Millions of pounds have been spent on advising us how to prepare but communication on the topic of Brexit and planning has been less than effective.  One very good example of the confusion created by poor messaging is the rather unhelpful motorway signs simply saying, “Freight to EU – Papers May Change”.

So what do we know in relation to employment legislation and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit?

Employment Law & Brexit – Current Position

  • Employment legislation currently in place will remain in full effect unless amended or appealed by the Government. Previous assurances to retain a “status quo” and consistency through and beyond Brexit have not been confirmed by Boris Johnson’s cabinet, leading to increased uncertainty;
  • Irish nationals will be free to work in the UK;
  • ‘Settled Status’ scheme for other EU nationals has caused concern. 42% of EU nationals who have applied are now classified as having pre-settled status, which while not an outright refusal, provides a five-year deadline to get their paperwork in order
  • It will not be possible to create an EWC (European Works Council) previously eligibility rested on having 1,000 employees within the European Economic Area or at least 150 in each of two countries within the EEA. The future of existing EWC’s may be in doubt.

Action to Take

  • Financial modelling on coping with the effects of a “no-deal” Brexit may result in a need for redundancies.  Plan ahead and be prepared for the consultation process if this proves a reality in 2020.
  • If you employ EU nationals, you should be seeking to reassure and support them through this process.  One important factor will be to consider not just the employees status but that of their immediate family and dependents.
  • A knock-on effect of the stress of securing a settled status could be absence and/ or productivity issues.  Be mindful of the impact such an unsettling situation can create.  Update your management team to ensure they are aware of the risk and can accommodate and support staff who face such uncertainties.

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Any business or transactions through the domain ‘@samuelphilips.co.uk’ is not undertaken by an individual or firm of solicitors authorised and regulated by the SRA.

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