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Embrace HR Aylesbury Employees Working

Guidelines released by the government show that protection of workers and the legal responsibilities of employers to their staff are set to remain…

The looming spectre of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is breeding an atmosphere of uncertainty across the UK – whether you are a home owner, business owner or someone who has to deal with HR issues and workers’ rights.

March 29, 2019 will see the EU leave the UK – and if the increasingly likely-looking ‘no-deal’ happens, the government has released guidelines on what the legal implications might be.

Workers’ Rights

The good news is that the government has already confirmed that there will be no alterations to current rights for workers of their protection – this is all covered in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which translates EU legislation into UK law. Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, told a recent press conference that domestic law already exceeds the EU when it comes to these matters, and that existing EU provisions would be transferred into UK legislation after Brexit.

What could be a risk in the longer term is the fact that, because these rights will simply be under UK rather than EU law, Parliament could at any time choose to scrap them and there would be no redress to the EU Court of Human Rights.

EU Citizens

If you’re a European Union (EU) citizen, you and your family will be able to apply to get either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status. This will mean you can continue living in the UK after December 2020.

The application fee will be £65 for adults and £32.50 for children. The application process will be phased and is intended to be fully operational by March 2019. There will be a grace period until 30 June 2021 for EU nationals to apply for either status.

Two useful articles on this include An employer’s guide to preparing for Brexit [People Management: An employer’s guide to preparing for Brexit, 3 Sep 2018] and, on the Gov.co.uk website here [GOV.UK: Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families].

European Councils

One group that may be affected are European works councils, which represent the European employees at a company or organisation. However, the document states that UK regulations will be altered to enable new requests for a works council to be set up and to allow existing ones to continue.

If your company has European Works Councils and trades unions that are parties to European Works Council agreements, you may need to review your agreements as there will no longer be reciprocal arrangements between the UK and the EU.

Insolvency

Another change relates to employer insolvency. Should an employer go into insolvency, employees will still be protected under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and Pension Schemes Act 1993 implementing the Insolvency Directive [EUR-Lex: Document 32008L0094] or relevant legislation in Northern Ireland.

However, UK and EU employees who work in an EU country for a UK employer may be at risk. It is possible that they will be covered under the national guarantee fund in that country, but that is not a given at this stage.

Finally, should we leave the EU without a deal, the UK would also no longer have access to the European Single Market. This would mean companies would have to make customs declarations on all EU trade, and you may need to employ customs brokers or warehousing. This could be pricey, especially for smaller businesses, so if this applies to your organisation it would be worth becoming familiar with existing guidelines for importing and exporting outside of the UK.

Read the full guidance document from the Government here [GOV.UK: Workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal].

If you would like to discuss any issues relating to your HR provision and Brexit, and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761 288 or contact us here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Skills crisis

As Brexit gets ever-nearer, and the world of work changes with technological advances, the UK is heading towards a skills shortage that will hit employers hard…

The UK is falling behind its European counterparts when it comes to education levels and training in the workplace, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

As Britain heads towards a future out of Europe, the CIPD’s report – From ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’: making the UK’s skills system world-class – shows that the UK lags behind most OECD (The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries in at least four major skillsets.

You can download and read the full report here [CIPD Policy Report April 2017].

To put this in perspective – the UK and Northern Ireland are at the bottom of 19 countries in terms of young people’s computer-solving skills and in the bottom four for literacy and numeracy for 16- to 24-year-olds.

The research also shows that UK employers spend less on training than the other main EU countries. Back in 2010 the average cost was 266 per employee compared to 511 across the EU – and this disparity is only getting wider.

Employers have been highlighting this lack of skills and the lack of development for more than a decade, but little practical action appears to have taken place. The CIPD has already called for the government to put skills at the core of the national industrial strategy, as well as looking for organisations to invest in more training in the workplace and to look to increase their skills bases. This also means that HR professionals will have a major role to play in identifying where there are skills deficits, and devising strategies to compensate.

When it comes to digital skills, the problem is that some of the jobs that are available now hadn’t really been thought of 15 years ago – just consider social media and digital content vacancies. When Facebook first began 13 years ago, how many people would have imagined that it would be possible to make a living running a social media strategy for a company!

And as technology advances, there are going to be more – not less – jobs that we could not have imagined. HR staff can help by staying on top of advances and identifying where training existing staff will help productivity or where it is necessary to being in employees skilled in certain areas.

It is not only in digital skills that the UK is lacking either – a recent CBI survey [Independent: UK migration figures underscore acute risk of labour shortage, leading business groups warn – 24 August 2017] suggests that the skills shortage in the services sector – is the worst it has been for 19 years. And with the likely exit of many Eastern European nationals – who are at the heart of a number of our industries such as construction and care – who is going to be building all the new homes the government is planning or caring for our elderly in a nation where we are all living longer than ever before?

“The loss of these vital skills should concern us all,” says Matthew Percival, head of employment at the Confederation of British Industry.

Vocational training is necessary to plug this gap – and it needs to happen quickly – with Brexit happening in the very near future, we need to get people trained and ready to work as soon as possible.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us via our website.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.