The referendum on 23rd June 2016, and Teresa May’s official signal of Britain’s exit from the European Union in March 2017, has cast worldwide doubt on markets, industries and society.
Sixteen months on from the initial referendum decision and we are still none the wiser on what to expect from a post-Brexit Britain. “Divorce” talks continue to take place between the powers that be, and speculation is rife.
At this time, we don’t know the full impact that Brexit will have, but that doesn’t help a country in which 11% of its workforce are made up of foreign nationals, many of them European, and much of our Employment Law is firmly rooted in European legislation.
So, what can you do as an employer while waiting for the impending deal to be finalised?
First, ensure that all staff are currently legally entitled to work in Britain. Be aware that nothing has changed. Employers must still carry out appropriate checks on staff, and the £20,000 fine per illegal worker remains.
In the wake of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, many firms might be forgiven for feeling uneasy about hiring permanent staff and prefer instead to mitigate risk and keep staff on short term contracts. But temporary staff have the same level of access to your assets as permanent staff, and must also be legally entitled to work here, therefore diligence in screening temporary staff is just as critical.
All staff will likely be uneasy about what will happen post Brexit, whether directly affected or concerned about the future of their co-workers. Keep all staff up to date with any changes which could affect team members. You may not be able to fully reassure your staff but keeping a business as usual attitude should ensure that staff feel supported and disruptions to productivity is kept at a minimum.
Now is a good time to assess your level of risk in the event of changes to employment law. Ensure you have a clear understanding of which members of staff might be directly affected and check that all right to work documents are up to date.
Brexit is dominating headlines and the full impact will only become clear after Britain’s exit is complete. Ensuring you stay compliant and diligent in all areas of your employment screening practices, and acting on changes as they happen, will prevent problems further down the line.