Brexit

Brexit – Preparing for the Journey

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Information is appearing about what employers need to do whether we leave with or without a deal. Some of the advice is quite clear and shows that some employers may not have to take action in the short term or even for a year or more. Some advice will seem general rather than specific for those seeking to get on with their preparations. Even so, it is worth while taking stock of the key aspects of your operations to see which issues you need to check and whether any changes should be made in the short term or can be left safely for several months or even a year or more.

Start by considering the aspects which are key to your organisation. Then focus on establishing the effect and any actions required on that point. For example, your key aspects might include one of more of the following:

Make Your Task Easier

  • Employing staff from an EU state to work in the UK or UK individuals to work in an EU country;
  • National Insurance and social security contributions;
  • Provision of services to an EU country;
  • Movement of goods to and/or from the UK;
  • Shipment authorisations and clearances, duty payments;
  • Inventory in the UK and/or EU and in transit issues
  • Data Protection implications

There are several sources of advice available including grants to help with training your staff in certain aspects. Brief details and sources are given below. for c

People Issues

People issues will probably be easier to prepare for compared to aspects such as movement of goods. An example is given below of a people aspect and the advice available. In this example, the significant issues for the managers are:

i) We have staff from the UK who are based in an EU country and in the EEA area
ii) We shall need to retain existing staff in the UK including those from other EU countries.
iii) We will need to recruit staff and may need to hire specialist contractors from EU countries.

For clarity the EEA includes countries in the EU and aslo Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

UK National working in an EU state or the EEA or Switzerland

Advice published relating to UK staff who are based in an EU country indicates that employers will need to make some checks if we leave without a deal to establish if the current position will continue to apply. Currently, employees usually pay Natioonal Insurance contributions only in one country in which they work.

If an employee is a UK or Irish national working in Ireland, the situation should not change after Brexit for them as they are covered by an international agreement signed by the UK and Ireland in February 2019.

Individuals who have an A1/E101 form issued by the UK, will continue to pay UK NI contributions until the expiry date on that form. However, if the expiry date is after the UK’s Brexit date, managers will need to check with the relevant country as to whether their effected employees will need to pay social security contributions in just the UK or also in the country in which the individual works. See contact details of the relevant authority in the EU

Source of Advice – the Brexit edition of the Employer Bulletin published by HMRC September 2019 Issue 2

Need to retain existing staff in the UK who are from other EU countries

No action should be necessary in respect of Individuals who have indefinite leave to remain in or to enter the UK nor if the individual is an Irish citizen.

Other staff from the EU and members of their family may have an option to continue to stay and work or study in the UK. They will need to apply under the settled or pre-settled status option. Such staff and their families would have rights to continue studies, receive health care etc. even if the family member is not an EU citizen. Such status will enable the individual to continue to remain in the UK for a specific period after 31st December 2020.

There is no fee to pay for applications. However, an essential condition is that the individual must be living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU i.e. 31st October 2019 or such later date as may be fixed. In the event of a no deal brexit, applications must be made by 31st December 2020.

This will be a delicate subject to discuss with individuals so managers are advised to read some of the basic explanatory leaflets available as that will help to identify potential questions and concerns from staff. Managers should hold discussions with individuals to help to prevent misunderstandings that could lead to a surge in leavers due to lack of information about the options available to them to stay and continue to work in the UK.

More information and resources are available for employers at this link – EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit.
The kit also contains some suggestions and materials for briefing your staff on this topic.

Grants for Training Staff

Grants are available to help with the training costs for businesses who complete customs declarations, or who intend to make IT improvements for dealing with the declarations. Further details of the cover and application process are available at this link.

Other Aspects or Not Sure Where to Start?

I have focused on the people issues in this article. If you feel at sea about other aspects, you may wish to start by using the online tool produced by the Government. This attempts to steer managers through the aspects that are important to their organisation and gives links to the relevant advice available. The on-line tool can be accessed via this link – prepare business for leaving the EU.

We amy publish further articles on both the people and other aspects as more information becomes available. To keep up to date with our new articles, complete the box in the right hand margin to receive new alerts to articles.

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