Impact of No Deal Brexit on your Business and Employees

October 2019

For avid watchers of British politics, the ongoing Brexit debate is a fascinating watch with more twists than a Netflix box set. However, as it stands the UK is due to exit the EU with effect from 31 October and the Withdrawal Agreement of November 2018 remains the only path towards a managed Brexit, even if it is still to be ratified by the House of Commons.

What is clear, however, is that domestic preparations continue to focus on the strong possibility of a no deal and, in light of that, businesses need to continue to take steps to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible. Businesses across Ireland must consider the impact of a no deal Brexit on all aspects of their business from supply chains to people.

From a people perspective employers need to consider a number of aspects to try to manage the process smoothly;

Location

Employers should consider where their employees are currently based and decide whether changes need to be made. They should also assess if a presence in a different market is required to deal with the change, and so they may need to consider opening new offices or branches. A flexible workforce which can react quickly and smoothly will be increasingly important to employers as the Brexit story unfolds.

Free Movement

Whilst some comfort can be drawn from the fact that the Common Travel Area will continue to apply for the purposes of work, study and access to public services in each country, as they currently do, employers need to start planning and considering what steps to take in the event that there are restrictions on temporary transfers of non-EU staff to the UK (and Northern Ireland) to deliver services and restrictions on the employment of current and new non-UK staff in the UK.

Recruitment

Employers in Ireland will already be aware of the critical skills shortages in a number of areas in Ireland such as ICT and advanced manufacturing. Irish companies will need to place even greater emphasis on attracting top talent because of Brexit and the challenges that will be encountered in recruitment from or through the UK.

Contracts

Finally, employers will need to consider their contracts of employment. EU legislation has strongly influenced UK employee protection legislation over the past 20 years or so, however, this may change if the UK Government decides to do away with laws which are viewed as unnecessary red tape. Brexit may result in complications in employment contracts for people working in the UK and employers need to keep informed of any changes to ensure their contracts can adapt accordingly.

Whilst the ongoing certainty around the nature of Brexit proves challenging employers and businesses must continue to try to prepare in an effort to mitigate any negative impact on their business.

For more information, please get in touch with your usual Whitney Moore contact, Emma Richmond or any member of our Employment, Pensions and Immigration team.

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