Hot topic: Hard Brexit, part two
Nick Chronias and Ben Wilkins, March 10, 2017
With a hard Brexit looking increasingly likely, what areas do people leaders need to be aware of?
What could be the impact on the workforce and how should businesses prepare?
Nick Chronias, partner in the employment and pensions group at DAC Beachcroft, says:
"There are many unknowns about the impact of Brexit on UK employers and employment law. For many employers a key issue is free movement of workers between the UK and the EU. That freedom currently looks likely to be significantly curtailed post-Brexit.
"UK employers of EEA citizens should engage in early and supportive discussions on their options for remaining in the UK post-Brexit. Some will, with their families, have the right to apply for a registration certificate, a permanent residence document, or British citizenship, depending on their length of residence and preferences. Several employers are already offering affected staff specialist immigration advice and supporting such applications.
"The ability of UK-based businesses to post UK staff across their EU sites will be similarly affected and a possible visa system will undoubtedly form part of the Brexit negotiations.
So, dealing with what’s known and within employers’ and employees’ control under our immigration laws makes sense."
Ben Wilkins, people and organisation partner at PwC, says:
"Although the UK’s negotiating position remains unclear, people considerations will rank highly among the practical implications of Brexit.
"We see three immediate priorities. Number one, help your business create a positive mindset to capitalise on opportunities that arise. Develop a proactive communication strategy for this. Leaders will need to deliver a consistent message to instil trust and confidence.
"Number two, address the ‘here and now’ issues. Consider assisting your EU and EEA employees with obtaining permanent residence status to stabilise your workforce. Understand the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations on your business. Plan for reward and workforce costs so you are better placed to ride things out.
"And number three, look longer term. Identify how a radically different immigration regime will affect your recruitment strategy and talent pipeline. Investigate whether Brexit will accelerate automation/digitisation of your business. Review the optimum locations for your operations. Think how your employee value proposition may need to change."