Brexit - be prepared

Brexit – it’s dragging on, but use the opportunity to be prepared

Brexit has certainly introduced uncertainty, especially in the last few weeks, but rather than watching and waiting, this is your opportunity to make workforce planning a priority and ensure that your business has the right resources they need for the changes ahead.

Many of our employment laws derive from EU directives, and at this moment in time the government has not indicated that any immediate changes will be made to employment rights.

Any changes to our workplaces will depend on the type of future relationship that we have with the EU. Whilst final arrangements are not yet determined, the following actions can be taken ahead of leaving.

EU Citizens

If you employ EU citizens, they must take the following action:

  • EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years or morewhen Brexit takes place have the right to work in the UK indefinitely by applying for ‘settled status’.
  • EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five yearsbefore Brexit takes place have the right to work in the UK indefinitely by applying for ‘pre-settled status’ which they can change to ‘settled status’ when they have lived in the UK for five years or more.
  • EU citizens who have British, Irish or ‘dual’ citizenship, or have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK have the right to work in the UK indefinitely and do not need to apply for ‘settled status’.

As an employer, be supportive of employees applying for settled status by helping them where you can through the application process. You can find details of the ‘settled status’ scheme at

Employers can find guidance on checking if someone has the right to work in the UK, which will not change until the end of 2020 at least. Connect to guidance.

Equally, it’s important for you to find out if your EU employees are intending to apply for settled status.

Talking about how Brexit affects workers

Everyone one that I know has some core concerns about the impact of Brexit and if you employ EU citizens it can be a particularly worrying time for them too, as well as your UK workforce. It’s worth setting aside some time to discuss concerns and let your workforce know that you’re as prepared as you can be.

It’s an opportunity to understand your employee’s sentiment towards work issues such as job security, satisfaction and potentially intention to leave. This data will allow you to respond to workforce needs and whether you need to look at recruitment, training and development, better engagement or communications.

With all the uncertainty that we’re having to live with, the usual approach of setting plans and strategies in stone may be less effective and difficult to implement. Use the official government advice, but outside of that it’s up to you as a business owner to plan.

Don’t pressure yourself into having to make all the right decisions now. You may need to make quick decisions that will have long-term consequences but, ultimately, the only way to prepare is to make sure that you’re informed.

If you need help with any HR related issues, get in touch today to arrange an initial no-obligation consultation.