Practical Guidance On Brexit and EU Workforce

As of 12.30pm on Wednesday 29th March 2017 the UK and Europe will never be the same again; Brexit has officially begun and as much as businesses all over the UK were prepared for this, nobody really knows what Brexit means for them or how it will affect their business, recruitment and HR.

Peter Cheese, CEO of CIPD has put together his thoughts on Brexit in regards to HR and recruitment and here is some of what he had to say on the matter;

Immigration

One of the most challenging and significant matters to solve in regards to the exit negotiations for the UK is the immigration system; since the initial vote for Brexit there has been a clear drop in the amount of migrant workers from Europe to the UK and many other EU workers are also considering leaving the UK. This needs to be looked at seriously by the government so the status and rights of EU migrants working in the UK is confirmed quickly and clearly for the benefit of both the employers and the EU migrants themselves.

There is undoubtedly a need for UK companies to gain skilled and unskilled workers from the EU and this will need to be remembered by the government; a flexible immigration system needs to be created so the demands of skills and workers for businesses can be met, but greater control on immigration also needs to be looked at for our economy to keep on moving and improving.

Employment Law

The current UK employment law as it stands offers the correct framework for businesses and employees; providing balance, flexibility and security for both parties. Issues in regards to employment rights for the growing amount of contract workers and self employed workers needs to be looked at in the near future, but this is not in direct relation to Brexit.

In the meantime, CIPD provides lots of examples of things that won’t technically change during our two year notice period:

  • We’ll still be bound by existing EU laws. Nothing will change regarding TUPE or agency worker protections.
  • We’ll still be required to conform to new EU laws. That means as an employer, you’ll still need to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation by no later than May 2018.
  • Nationals from the 30 countries in the EEA (European Economic Area) will still have the right to live and work in Britain.

Skills

The government and businesses need to look at the skills we have in the UK and the skills needed to fill gaps. For many businesses across the UK, Brexit has been a sharp wake-up call that has forced business owners and employers to look at their workforce, the skills they currently have in their business and the skills they will need going forward to allow them to remain competitive against other businesses in the UK and across the globe.

The government has significantly invested in the education sector but the UK still suffers from a growing skills gap of skills that many businesses in the UK desperately need. We have been treated to easy access of EU workers that can mask these problems and fill those skills gaps but it is essential that the government and businesses work together to address supply and demand of these skills in the future to enable the UK as a whole to strengthen their economy.

Will Companies Leave?

A number of financial organisations and institutions have warned that they will relocate their staff if the UK is to leave the EU, but there are many regulatory arrangements on the Brexit negotiating table and these will keep trading conditions favourable in the UK, but this could change in the near future and is definitely an area to watch.

What Now?

Many of us have been looking at Brexit as a threat for some time, but now it is the time to see it as a new opportunity. Brexit has given us all the chance to revolutionise the workplace and employment so let’s make the most of the current unpredictable world. To discuss your workplace practice and policies or to discuss employment or recruitment further contact aspire cambridge on 01223 855440.