The Impact of Brexit on EU Workers

brexit eu workersThere is been a lot of turmoil and speculations over the last few weeks, with employers and employees alike facing continued periods of uncertainty and change.

For most businesses, the immediate impact of Brexit will be limited as major changes won’t occur for a while. However, employment law, immigration and the ability of employers to bring the right skills they need into their business will potentially be subject to change. In 2015 alone, 270 000 EU workers immigrated to the UK, as you can imagine millions are now faced with uncertainty and it is our job as HR practitioners to stop the panic.

44 % of Workers Feel Pessimistic about the Future after Brexit

Employers and HR practitioners must ensure that their workforce and especially EU nationals stay calm. Recent CIPD survey indicates that 44 % of workers felt pessimistic about the future. Significant number of respondents felt that they need to improve their workplace skills in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and many felt less secure in their job than before the vote.  Job uncertainty has rippled through many sectors since Brexit. The Lloyds Banking Group is one of many that plan to cut 3,000 jobs and close 200 branches, following Brexit.

How to Tackle Uncertainty?

Developing a coherent communications plan will enable you to address some of your employees’ concerns and will build trust. Ensure your communications plan has clear objectives, is sending the right messages and that it refocuses your workforce back to the business and your customers.

Keep employees engaged, offer counselling, when people are faced with change they feel threatened which automatically makes morale and productivity go down. Involve employees in the decision making process, show them that their contributions are important to company success, offer training, upskilling, etc.

Tackling uncertainty should be a priority in all HR practitioners’ minds.  Although they won’t make uncertainty completely disappear, the above tips will help your workforce to get back on track and refocus their minds on the business.

Employing Foreign Nationals

Employing foreign workers is common practice.  The private and public sector alike, need a large talent pool to fill specialist skills vacancies as well as low-skilled ones due to labour shortages. Brexit threatens the free movement of EU migrant labour, which will automatically shrink the talent pool. Although, we still don’t know what the new UK’s EU immigration policy will be, there are 2 main options:

1.    An Australian-style points-based system

2.    Adapting the points-based system (PBS) which currently applies to non-EU migrants

New legislation

Mergers and acquisitions and the automatic transfer of employees’ rights are a big concern; they may be reduced depending on UK’s new legislation. Working time, discrimination; information, consultation and representation; remuneration are only a fraction of areas that might be affected when new legislation comes into place.

It is vital the Government continues to focus on working with all constituencies, businesses and HR practitioners on the strategic challenges that threaten the UK’s workforce and prosperity in the future.

Author: Mary Bancheva

Mary is a HR manager with experience spanning across a wide range of HR functions and management. She graduated in HRM with first class honours and is currently the HR manager of VHMworld’s European Headquarters. She is also a human and animal rights activist and loves travelling.

The Impact of Brexit on EU Workers
Article Name:
The Impact of Brexit on EU Workers
There is been a lot of turmoil and speculations recently, with employers and employees alike facing continued uncertainty and change. For some businesses, changes will be gradual due to Brexit. However, employment law, immigration and the ability of employers to bring the right skills they need into their business are subject to change.
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Employment Alert
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