HR moved into uncertainty as Britain votes for Brexit

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The UK’s shock vote to leave the EU has left financial markets and businesses reeling this morning.

A period of uncertainty will now follow in which firms will be left wondering how our relationship with Europe, Britain’s biggest trading partner, will look in two years time.

From immigration to employment law and pensions, the European Union referendum has hardly left the national headlines over the last few months.

HR departments will have to consider what happens when many of the UK’s key employments laws, which are enshrined in EU law, become defunct when the UK eventually leaves the Union.

The decision has lead the UK to lie in a period of uncertainty which may lead to job losses in the future.The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) statistics have showed a slowdown in hiring in approached to the Referendum. REC’s Chief Executive Kevin Green said he ‘expects to see this period of uncertainty continue.’

With EU immigrants constituting up to seven percent of the overall UK workforce, the vote could have an impact on companies relying on skilled and unskilled workers from EU. The vote may also add another border and set of laws for any business with UK based workers. The laws will span employee verification, credit reporting and privacy.

The vote to leave could also make it more difficult for businesses to screen and verify candidates’ employment eligibility – creating a talent shortage in several industries.

Responding to confirmation of the vote to leave, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The British people have made their views clear.

“As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the first priority now is to protect jobs and defend the living standards of working people.

“The government must urgently set out a plan to defend UK industry and keep British jobs. That means defending the pound and stimulating the economy.

“Working people must not pay the price for the decision to leave the EU.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General at the Confederation of British industry said:

“The British people’s vote to leave the EU is a momentous turning point in our history. The country has spoken and it’s for us all to listen.

“Many businesses will be concerned and need time to assess the implications. But they are used to dealing with challenge and change and we should be confident they will adapt.

“The urgent priority now is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the Government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy.

“The choices we make over the coming months will affect generations to come. This is not a time for rushed decisions.

“The CBI will be consulting its members and business is committed to working with Government to shape the best possible conditions for future prosperity.”

The vote to leave could have a positive effect on those individuals who are self-employed or work freelance.

The Association for Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has said that the leave vote will bring opportunity for the UK’s 4.7 million self-employed.

IPSE believes this new era can and must be taken as an opportunity for the UK. Priorities should be new global trading arrangements, cutting burdensome regulation on small and micro businesses and ensuring that Britain has the most flexible and attractive economy in the world. With these priorities, the UK can be a place where freelancing and contracting can thrive

New circumstances always bring new opportunities for freelancers. We should be optimistic about the future and IPSE will continue to push the importance and value freelancers bring to our economy

 

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  1. As a supplier to HR and in-house talent mobility teams, I’d say that the vote for Brexit opens up the opportunity for these individuals and teams to become much more strategic within their organisations and to lead internal conversations in relation to risk and planning.

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