Chris Kerridge continues his opinion piece about Brexit’s impact on HR.
Reading time: 3m 30s.
Impact on employee legislation
Keeping up with legal changes is one of the most stressful and onerous aspects of managing an organisation’s people and it is possible that Brexit will add to this issue.
The EU introduced rigorous protection of trade union rights and basic humane employment practices, and of course these will continue to be protected by the UK’s separate membership of the European Convention of Human Rights [ECHR].
Similarly, legislation that did not have EU input will remain in place, covering legislation such as pensions auto-enrolment and shared parental leave.
However, Brexit means that some employment legislation may be relaxed or removed. Whilst a dramatic shakeup seems unlikely where laws have been welcomed and adopted, acts of parliament and regulations that implement EU laws and are already receiving criticism may be relaxed or removed.
Many employment law rights have become deeply embedded in UK law as a more socially conscious culture has developed around them.
Whilst there are no conclusions here yet, HR can be prepared by developing an understanding of the laws at risk and scenario planning should changes be made in these areas.
What could you expect?
Many employment law rights have become deeply embedded in UK law as a more socially conscious culture has developed around them. UK employers are accustomed to EU employees having the right to live and work across the EU without restriction and they are also used to applying standard EU regulations to workers, inclusive of social security and benefits.
It is important to start thinking about scenarios and the possible impact of changes on the organisation.
It seems unlikely that these will be removed completely (can you imagine how unpopular it would be to remove the voting public’s right to a minimum of 5.6 weeks annual leave?!) However, changes to holiday pay limitations or annual leave carry-over for those on long-term sick leave are possible.
Agency workers regulations
Regulations that compel an employer to give equal treatment to a worker that has been in continuous employment for 12 weeks or more regardless of official contract length could be reviewed or abolished to give employers access to a more flexible workforce. Addressing these regulations may offer some compensation for a potentially more limited pool of available UK-only workers.
Removal of benefits of EU employment
It is possible that, at some point following Brexit negotiations, workers from the EU may find that access to benefits [such as Attendance Allowance, for example] or free healthcare has been removed, and they may need to start paying social security contributions overseas. This would potentially incur more costs for employers for overseas contributions.
Collective consultation rights
Employees’ right to be collectively consulted for redundancies of over twenty employees has received criticism in the past and may receive some attention following Brexit.
TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations]
The commercial effects of TUPE have been raised as a concern more than once over the past few years. It has been argued that TUPE is fantastic from an employee rights perspective in its preservation of the terms of employment first provided to the employee.
However, the opposing view argues that TUPE can affect the value of a business, and that the timescales and restrictions placed on a new employer to manage legal requirements such as consultation periods can restrict competitiveness.
It is unlikely that TUPE will be scrapped completely, but it is likely that regulations will be relaxed, giving employers more opportunity to harmonise their Ts & Cs of employment and reducing the obligations placed around employee consultation.
Brexit will create market volatility as the UK, European and Global markets assess the likely impact of Brexit. This will impact on all types of pension scheme (defined benefit and defined contribution) and may need to be incorporated into a post-Brexit employee communications strategy.
Organisation spending appears to be more cautious as the implications of Brexit are still not fully understood. Some long-term strategic projects are being put on pause until the post-Brexit fallout has settled.
HR directors should ensure that their chunk of the budget for any system required to support their organisation is confirmed – with the extra work that Brexit will require from HR, it is more important than ever for organisations to keep on top of employee data and use the best possible talent tools.
A good HR solution provider will help you put together a strong case for investment in your area and deliver the best tools to support you through the Brexit process and deliver competitive edge.
Part three of this piece will be published next week.
About the author
Chris Kerridge is employee engagement expert at MHR.