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Amongst all of the chaos of Covid19 it is easy to forget about Brexit. But with the deadline looming (1st January 2021) it is vital to be aware of all the factors that HR must prepare for. A poll by EY conducted in September (with UK-based firms accounting for more than a third of participants) revealed that only 13% felt prepared for the end of the transition period. This is a worrying statistic when the deadline for Brexit is less than two months away.
There are a number of things HR needs to be aware of as we get closer to the deadline. Factors that are changing need to be addressed to ensure that you remain compliant to the new rules and regulations.
As well as the actions that all travellers will now have to take, there are additional measures you need to take if you are travelling to the EU for business purposes.
From January 1st 2021, EU nationals will be treated the same as any other individual from overseas seeking to work in the UK. This is because there will no longer be free movement of EU nationals. If they want to work in the UK they will need to do so via the new immigration system. For the majority of workers, this will involve the new skilled worker route through which individuals must achieve a minimum of 70 points to be allowed a visa that allows them to work in the UK. Points are based around: occupation, skills and ability to speak English. Based on the system, it is unlikely that ‘low skilled’ workers will be able to work in the UK following the UK’s exit from the EU. There is a minimum salary of £25,600 per annum or the ‘going rate’ for the job – whichever is higher.
What you need to do as an employer
EU nationals that already work (and live) in the UK for an employer can continue to do so. This is provided that they have applied for ‘settled status’ through the use of the EU settlement scheme. This has been in place since March 2020. Some employers are setting up ‘clinics’ for their staff so that this can be done in a group with their support and help. Individuals living and working in the UK by 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to submit their application. As an employer it is important to ensure that you’re educating your workers about settled status. It is a fairly straightforward application and decisions are usually made very quickly (within seven days if it is not complicated).
Personal data is anything that can be used to identify a living person, including: names, delivery details, IP addresses, or HR data such as payroll details. From 1st January 2021 your business may need to have Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) in place with EU counterparts in order to legally receive personal data from the EU.
The EU’s data adequacy assessment of the UK is underway. Adequacy decisions are expected to be concluded by the end of the transition period. This would allow the free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK to continue without any further action by organisations. If the EU do not make a decision before the end of the transition period, employers will need to act if they want to continue to lawfully receive personal data from EU/EEA organisations in the future. It will be required to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to ensure that data can continue to legally flow from the EU/EEA to the UK. For the majority of businesses, the most relevant of these will be Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).
If you are providing certain services, i.e. legal services, to clients within the EU it is important that you check that your professional qualifications are still recognised. You should therefore check with your regulator to see if it will still be recognised.
Businesses in Great Britain will need to complete the following actions to continue exporting and importing to EU countries from 1st January 2021.
Check the EU business you are exporting to is ready by 1st January 2021
It is critical that you keep your staff informed on your Brexit plans and the effect that this will have on the business. You should maintain transparency with your employees by informing them of the changes that will take place. Additionally, is it vital that you start preparing now. The pandemic is adding pressure to Brexit-related administrative turnaround times. Actions that businesses need to take are likely to take longer. This is due to the backlogs in applications that Covid19 has caused. The second wave that we are currently experiencing will only push delays further. Therefore, it is imperative that you take action now to ensure it is all done in time.
It is easy for paperwork to pile up and get lost. oneHR has a centralized document storage solution. This will help to ensure legal compliance and keep all documentation stored in one secure place. All relevant documentation needed for the new regulations of Brexit, such as immigration policies and visa documentation, can be stored safely and easily accessed when needed within this system.
The task management function helps to ensure that you never miss a deadline again. oneHR guarantees all managers keep up to date with important tasks that may be forgotten. This function will be especially useful for preparing for and acting on the changes in policies that Brexit will bring. Managers can assign tasks for themselves that need completing before certain deadlines such as applying for a sponsorship licence. Additionally, you can assign employees tasks to ensure that they complete required tasks before deadlines. For example, applying for settled status. This function takes away the headache of remembering deadlines in order to stay compliant with the new laws.
The employee directory is a secure online database which allows all employee information and records to be stored in one place. It keeps personal information safe, but easily accessible when needed. This function will help to ensure that you have all of the correct data needed on your workforce. In turn this will ensure you are prepared for the new requirements of the immigration system. oneHR also provides you with the ability to customise your employee directory to better fit your business needs. Offering the functionality to add in custom sections and fields. So if you do have workers from outside of the UK, you can have custom sections for the extra information required about them.
You may require more than software to help you prepare for Brexit. If so, we also offer expert HR support on employment law and legal advice as an added service. Experts from our partners, High Performance Consultancy, are on hand to provide you with advice and support. They understand that keeping up to date and compliant with changes in employment law is essential to managing HR. They can offer their expertise in regard to the changing laws and regulations of Brexit to help protect you and your people.
If you have any further questions or queries about the content above or would like to request a demo for oneHR, please don’t hesitate to contact the oneHR team today.