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Brexit : HR Focus

We have entered into a new era after the British public cast approximately 52% of votes in favour of leaving the EU.

As the business community starts to understand the wider implications of leaving the EU, the HR function will be at the forefront of a demand for answers.

From queries about the business’s future proposals to individual concerns about immigration status, the inevitable uncertainty created by Brexit will leave staff and, indeed, management, with questions.

As we enter unchartered territory, many of those queries simply cannot be addressed at this stage but there are practical steps the HR function can take in the meantime:

  1. Undertake an audit of your staff profile in relation to their immigration status and geographical locations;
  1. Communicate with your employees – whether they may be individually impacted or simply concerned about wider implications to their future prospects;
  1. Assess your employment contracts and policies to understand the ramifications and processes of any future restructuring proposals;
  1. Check any existing European Works Council arrangements for obligations that could arise from plans to restructure the business;
  1. Reconsider global recruitment plans and analyse existing global mobility arrangements.

Whilst some hoped that Brexit would see the back of the more bureaucratic-type employment legislation, the need to renegotiate trading relationships with the EU may restrain the ability of Britain to take back full control.  Furthermore, whilst many employment rights derive from the EU, they have been implemented in the UK by binding legislation which would take time to repeal even if there was an appetite and ability to do so.  Even court decisions will require further litigation to ensure more senior courts reach binding conclusions.  The long-running disputes concerning holiday pay, for example, look set to continue.

What is clear, therefore, is that it will take time to acclimatise and that any changes on the horizon won’t happen overnight.

For further information, please contact Eleanor Wilkinson, Senior Associate in the Employment Team at Square One Law LLP on 0843 224 7940.


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