Four things every employer needs to know about Brexit

We’re sure you’ve noticed, but Brexit is back in the news in a big way. With Boris Johnson proving to be ever the controversial figure and growing parliamentary pressure to outlaw the eventuality of leaving with no deal, uncertainty has never been higher.

Have you thought about how Brexit will affect your business? Whether you rely on a large number of EU nationals to keep your business running, or you’re worried about contingency planning for the future of your business, our Head of Employment Law, Gillian McAteer, takes a look at the four things every business owner needs to know ahead of Brexit.

1. Can we ignore European rules after Brexit?

It could be easy to assume that, once the UK leaves the EU, all the laws we’ve been subject to will immediately become null and void. But that’s certainly not the case.

Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, all EU law in existence immediately before Brexit is converted straight into UK law as soon as Brexit occurs. These laws have to be interpreted in line with the principles laid down in the European Court as they apply immediately before Brexit day. That means most courts in the UK will be bound by these principles with the exception of the Supreme Court.

UK courts don’t have to follow any decisions made by the European Court after Brexit, but they may still be taken into account if the UK court considers them to be relevant to a particular case in hand.

2. Will freedom of movement end for EU nationals coming into Britain after 31 October?

No, the rules regarding freedom of movement are one of the areas of European Law which will be immediately imported to UK law on Brexit. The Government has pledged to bring freedom of movement to an end as quickly as possible, but we do not yet have any details of how or when this will be done.

3. I have EU nationals working in my business, what do I need to do?

The best thing you can do to support your EU workers is communicate with them to make sure they are aware of what they need to do to apply for Settled status (if they have 5 years’ residence in the UK) or Pre-Settled status (if they have less than 5 years’ residence) and, if possible, offer any support they may need.

Although the deadline for making this application is 31 December 2020 (if we leave without a deal) only a third of those eligible have made applications to date. The process is relatively quick and easy and there is no fee payable.

4. My business relies on recruiting workers from the EU, will this be more difficult after Brexit?

If the UK reaches a deal regarding their withdrawal from the EU, then it’s likely that freedom of movement between the UK and the EU would continue throughout the implementation period (originally due to be up to 31 December 2020). In the event of a no-deal Brexit, freedom of movement will be brought to an end much sooner. If your business relies on recruiting workers from within the EU, this may make recruitment more difficult.

All attention is on the Government’s proposals for the new skills-based immigration system which is due to come into force in January 2021 – in particular the proposal to have a minimum salary threshold of £30,000 and a short-term transitional temporary 12-month visa scheme for so called lower-skilled workers. The Government is currently undergoing a 12-month consultation period on these proposals.

Deal or no deal? Citation is with you at every step…

Managing your workforce in the face of uncertainty can be a daunting task. But with the help of Citation’s team of expert HR & Employment Law advisors, we can guide you through the process step-by-step.


If you want our help wading through the confusion, just give one of our team a call on 0345 844 1111 or enter your details in the form opposite. Already a Citation client? Remember, we’re available 24/7 on our advice line. Just call 0345 844 4848 to get in touch

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