Preparing for a No-Deal Brexit

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis

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23 Sep 2019

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A no-deal Brexit is now illegal—sort of. The latest piece of legislation passed by parliament doesn’t rule out no-deal entirely, it’s still possible to have one if parliament votes for it.

Plus, there’s concern that certain politicians could exploit legal loopholes to bypass it entirely.

The deadline is inching ever-closer and parliament in a state of limbo. The possibility of a no-deal exit from the EU is still very much a possibility.

But we’re not here to predict political outcomes. We’re here to provide clarity on HR and employment law, so that’s what we’re going to do.

Here’s how no-deal Brexit could hit your business:

Preparing for a no-deal Brexit

Impact on employment law

Existing employment law will experience very little immediate change. All current legislation will stay in place.

The only substantial changes we’re likely to see relate to aspects of employment law that are rarely utilised. Specifically, European Works Councils (EWCs) and employer insolvency.

For those of you who’re unaware:

  • EWCs are multi-national councils that discuss topics relating to the structure of organisations spanning multiple EU countries.
  • Employer insolvency refers to the rules around being unable to pay your debts and how this will impact your employees and assets.

Whilst existing EWCs will be able to remain in place, employees will no longer be able to ask employers to set up a new EWC after Brexit.

In addition, individuals already involved in EWCs are encouraged to review these agreements in the event of a no-deal.

The rights of employees working in the UK won’t change should your business become insolvent. However, there may be an impact on UK staff employed by a UK employer to work in the EU.

In this situation, you should encourage employees to check employment law in their country of work.

If you feel one of these issues might impact you in the event of a no-deal Brexit, speak to one of our experts today.

Impact on existing EU workers

EU nationals currently employed to work in the UK will be able to continue to do so following Brexit day on 31 October 2019.

The government's EU Settlement Scheme, introduced to allow existing EU nationals residing in the UK to apply for the indefinite right to remain after Brexit, will remain in place.

EU nationals already in the UK by 31 October 2019 will still have until 31 December 2020 to apply for settled status. During this time, you can continue to employ any EU nationals that are already part of your workforce.

Remember, you mustn’t exert any unnecessary pressure on individuals, or expose them to any other form of detriment, if they choose not to apply for settled status.

Existing EU nationals will still be able to live and work in the UK freely until 31 December 2020, and so, dismissing employees in the interim for being unwilling to apply for settled status could result in a discrimination claim.

Future EU workers

Freedom of movement will come to an immediate end upon a no-deal Brexit.

In response, a new European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme is also to be introduced.

This scheme essentially replaces freedom of movement and allow EU nationals moving to the UK after Brexit. This will last up to the end of 2020, to obtain a temporary status lasting three years.

The UK's future visa requirements for foreign nationals are yet to be established. However, there is a suggestion that temporary work visas will be issued for seasonal work. An ongoing trial has recently been debating this, but is yet to find a solution.

Going forward

The implications of a no-deal Brexit are likely to be wide-reaching. However, it’s currently unclear how other areas of employment law will be affected as a result. Especially in the long-term.

it’s important to keep up to date with all developments as Brexit progresses and make sure your staff are given all the information they require.

Expert support

If you have questions regarding the impact of a no-deal Brexit on employment law or your business, speak to a Croner expert today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in Employment law, HR and Commercial Legal advice for large organisations across the United Kingdom.

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