BREXIT – in it for the long haul

Business 7th September 2016

Yesterday in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, gave an update on the work of his department since the UK voted to leave the EU.  You can read his full statement here.

Considering that this is the biggest single issue facing the UK, the statement contained a distinct lack of detail.  Opposition politicians reacted with comments including “Is that it?” and “What have you been doing all summer?”

Amidst the ongoing uncertainty, how can employers anticipate and prepare for the eventual withdrawal from the EU?

Change isn’t going to happen overnight 

As most people now know, Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty must be activated before formal discussions will take place around the finer details. On the run up to the Referendum, David Cameron claimed he would invoke Article 50 the following day if the UK voted to leave.  Current predictions are that the process will start sometime in 2017.

Analysis by law firm Lewis Silkin suggested that it’s likely that in terms of employment law, things will largely stay the same. EU law is so deeply embedded in UK law that trying to pick things apart would be a long, complex, and unnecessary process. The message at the moment is that we should carry on as usual, and that big changes are not anticipated any time soon. 

Our current circumstances are favourable 

CIPD has commented: ‘We have an appropriate employment regulation framework in the UK, providing sufficient flexibility for employers and appropriate employment protection for workers. We will be making this case to Government as the debate about the UK’s relationship with Europe develops.’ 

In short, we have things good here in the UK, and it’s unlikely that anyone will want to impose significant changes when it comes to legislation that impacts the workplace.

Your staff will continue to have big questions 

It’s natural for workers to be concerned about their futures during times like these. Initial speculation around job losses may have calmed as the post-Referendum shockwaves dissipate, but a level of unease is continuing in many sectors.

Communication is key, and you need to make sure that you’re openly and honestly speaking about what’s happening to your business now in the current uncertain climate and what ultimately could happen to your business when the process is finally complete, wherever it’s realistic and possible to do so. Be open to questions, be transparent, and remind your workers that you’re all in this together. 

Watch this space

The reality right now is that there’s still a great deal of uncertainty, and any commentary on Brexit and what it will mean for employers continues to be speculation at this stage. For now, the best advice that we can give you is to continue as you are until further detail becomes available. 

Of course, it’s likely that developments will unfold over the coming months. Be sure to sign up for our weekly updates so you’re kept up to date with everything you need to know.

If you’re concerned about the ultimate implications of Brexit and you’d like to speak with an HR expert about your circumstances, get in touch using the contact form here. We can arrange to have a no-obligation chat about the challenges that you’re facing.

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