Posted on by Jessica Peaty

Britain bid farewell to the EU

Friday 24th of June will definitely be one to go down in British history.

Following on from last week’s referendum the UK has voted to leave the European Union, the vote to leave won by 4% as 51.9% of the country voted to leave compared to the 48.1% that voted to stay.

The uncertainty of leaving the EU has left HR leaders and employers concerned about what the Brexit means for them and their employees.

The answer to which at such an early stage is providently unknown. It can almost be guaranteed that the majority of businesses in the UK did not undertake any contingency planning for this eventuality. There will also be many of confused employees who are left questioning what leaving the EU means for their employment status and their future as a working citizen in the United Kingdom. As an employer it is now your job to keep your employees as informed as possible ensuring they remain reassured and confident in the workplace.

In the foreseeable future there will be vast amounts of information coming from the government concerning trade and employment laws. Making sure you have someone specifically concentrating on these changes and communicating them to the rest of the business can guarantee there be no unpleasant surprises along the course of the next two years until we have officially left the European Union.

The possible outcomes for the Brexit, previously explored in our blog; “Brexit; Should I stay or should I go” underline the main issues that will most probably be affected by leaving the EU. In theory, the government could potentially revise a significant proportion of the UK’s employment laws that originate from our membership in Europe. The likelihood of “wholesale change” will most probably be avoided as the government will be against wanting to change or remove laws that have become widely accepted and valued.

It remains uncertain what the decision means for EU nationals working in the UK, but managing director of Migrate UK Jonathan Beech warned that “the referendum decision for the UK to leave the EU could see the introduction of costly policies for organisations that employ EU workers”. It again depends on the transactional negotiations that occur. Currently EU workers in the UK will now need to fall under UK immigration rules and the UK’s Points Based System which attracts skilled migrants only, with migrants requiring a certain level of English language. However, the full extent won’t be known until the trading negotiation position is decided.

Despite the difficulty of forecasting the impact of Brexit, it is clear that the vote to leave will not result in overnight change and it will become more about a negotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU now they are separate entities.

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