Three steps to consider if the UK votes to leave the EU for HR professionals.
With the EU referendum date now set for 23rd June 2016, the UK has been embarking on an unprecedented period of public debate. Whilst the politicians are out campaigning, UK employers can now get busy by reading our guide to assess what a Brexit vote would mean for YOU and how you can be ready to deal with it if it happens. In the event of a Brexit vote, businesses need to minimise disruption to their workforce, while ensuring that all their practices remain legal. How HR teams can protect their organisation from the disruption that could follow Brexit, begins with:
Good planning and excellent communication strategies
HR also needs to keep remembering that many things will remain strategically important after a Brexit vote. Whether the UK remains in or leaves the EU, businesses still need to face the major challenges of:
Skill shortages and the impact of disruptive technologies on their organisations.
These important challenges can never be downgraded by any business at any time.
When it comes to managing the workforce, HR would be well advised to consider the types of skills currently in the workforce, particularly around recruitment, talent management
and succession planning issues. HR departments would be encouraged to open communication, if they haven’t already done so, with their non-UK EU workers, to ensure mutual clarity on their status in the event the UK left the EU.
Time is of the essence. In the run-up to the vote, the Home Office is expected to receive many more applications from new citizens, seeking to guarantee their status in the UK.
Any policy-level shift away from nationally-based eligibility to those based around skills and professions; will heavily affect low-skills labour, such as agriculture and construction, the changes will be business critical. Alternative sources of labour will need to be explored and HR will need to ensure employers avoid non-compliance and be up to speed on new immigration reporting duties.
Take into account the impact on staff around employee engagement and motivation amongst those who might be impacted long-term by a Brexit vote. For example, review the clarity of employment contracts for those who will be working internationally.
It’s important for HR to think about which laws currently affect their operating environment - and then consider the likelihood that these laws would be impacted by a Brexit.
A vote to leave would give the UK power to repeal or reshape employment legislation that many businesses dislike. However, a wholesale abolition of EU-based workplace law is unlikely for a combination of political and legal reasons.
The most likely legal changes post a Brexit vote would probably come around Working Time Regulations and the Agency Workers Directive, while more modest changes are likely to come for union power and TUPE, bonus payments legislation and data protection laws. Discrimination laws and family friendly working legislation seem far less likely to be affected.
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