Be ready for the exit: The HR implications of Brexit

Be ready for the exit: The HR implications of Brexit

Compliance and Security

Est. Read Time: 4 min.

In 2016 the people of the United Kingdom voted to no longer be a part of the European Union. After Brexit, new legislation will come into effect. Even if conditions and the date of the exit are still under negotiation and preparation, and the details still unclear, we already know that it will be very impactful for all areas of life in the UK and the EU, including implications for international businesses and their HR departments.

Whether you're a UK company with EU employees (or vice versa), or a US company with employees in either location, the change in immigration policy will require HR to manage employees differently. But how can you be ready when no one knows what exactly is going to happen? Even if the dust isn't fully settled, you can still prepare for possible scenarios by establishing an action plan and by being agile, strategic and ready to react quickly to any changes in order to stay compliant with new legislation. And, technology like an HR Service Delivery platform can make it easy to manage this.


Here are a few steps to follow to be well-armed for Brexit.


1. Perform a workforce audit

The first step you need to take is to identify which of your employees could be affected by the new legislation. Start by checking if your HRIS already contains the information about your employees’ nationalities. Then use electronic forms to ensure the data you have is accurate or collect this information if it's not already in your HRIS.


You can also check these forms to see if your foreign employees have already applied for a new status in your country (settlement or pre-settlement in the UK and a residential permit or a working visa in EU). And don’t forget to list all your new hires who will start after Brexit, including frontier workers (EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who work in the UK but live elsewhere and vice versa) and employees on a current or future international assignment—new legislation may also impact them whether they are EU-citizens in UK or UK-citizens in the EU.


Once this audit is done, update your HRIS to flag the concerned population. Later on, this will help you manage Brexit more easily.  


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2. Communicate changes to your employees

Once the audit is done, it’s time to take action! Start with communication to your employees about the legislation changes to come. This part will be critical during a time of uncertainty. Thanks to the workforce audit, you can easily communicate to different employee populations specifically. Create articles for different employee groups affected by Brexit (for example, one article for your EU employees living in the UK and a different article for UK employees living in the EU).


Once the legislation becomes clear, you can proactively communicate to affected employees about the details of the new immigration laws as well as any steps and deadlines they may need to follow by publishing dedicated articles on your company’s knowledgebase. Use these articles to direct employees to a specific form so they can reach you if they have more questions about Brexit.


Don’t forget to create another form for collecting documents related to immigration status. This will allow you to have all data in one place and automatically send it to the right person to manage it. And, to ensure that the most important information was received by concerned employees, send documents about new legislation to them for acknowledgement.


3. Update HR documents and processes

Brexit may significantly impact your HR processes, especially onboarding employees from the EU (or the UK if you are in the EU). New administrative steps will be added and new documents will likely need to be requested from candidates as well as provided by the company.


various-paper-shapes-representing-hr-process-workflowIf you are a UK company, you will also have to audit your HR documents for any that refer to EU-specific legislation and then adapt them to the new legislation. Similarly, you will need to update templates used to generate your HR documents to ensure they contain all mandatory information.


Contracts for frontier workers and workers on international assignments will also need to be reviewed. These employees will be limited on the time they can spend in your country or in the country of assignment because of the new regulation. To stay compliant with the new regulation and ensure they can complete their assignment, you may need to request some new documents from them or provide them with certain information.


Once this is done, send amendments to work contracts for all your concerned employees via eSignature to make it easy to complete these documents in accordance with any deadlines. With an HR Service Delivery platform, you can easily track your signature processes and check for missing documents, helping your company to stay compliant.


Preparation is key to managing the HR implications of Brexit

The period just after Brexit will be quite intense for your company but the better prepared you are, the smoother the experience will be. With the right technology, you can ease the implications Brexit will have on HR and adapt to the new legislation by proactively communicating changes to laws; ensuring the collection, acknowledgement, or signature of all required documents; and creating any new required HR processes.


Find how PeopleDoc HR Service Delivery platform can help you be more agile when legislation changes so you can stay on top of compliance.

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About Anastasia Montagne

Anastasia Montagne is a Global Product Marketer at PeopleDoc. She writes and speaks about the magic world of HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc. Prior to her role in Product Marketing, she worked at PeopleDoc as an Implementation Project Manager and as a Product Quality Manager. She has two Masters Degrees in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing & Management. Originally from Moscow, she has lived in Paris for several years and loves photography, languages and traveling the world.