Finding Work after Brexit

How do you stop being afraid of finding work after Brexit?

It’s 2018, and you may be sick about hearing all the doom-mongering by news media by now about Brexit. From being told Brexit will bankrupt up to a quarter of the UK’s farms, or that it would blow an £80-billion hole in public finances, or that Theresa May’s exit deal talks are more of a negotiated surrender really.

It’s been almost two years since the nation was shocked by results (1 year, 11 months this June). If there can really be “no turning back”, then what has been done to see “a new normal” outside of the EU?

 

Employment’s Back Up

Here’s some good news. Unemployment dipped almost immediately after triggering Article 50.

“It’s about making sure that jobs stay here in the U.K., and that new jobs are created here in the U.K,” as May promised back in 2017.

At a surface level, that makes sense. After the similarly fear-fueled ‘Brexodus’, someone certainly has to take up the slack. Certain jobs will be in higher demand than others. Jobs may even be created as businesses vacate. Remember, trade is just one part of where a nation’s income comes from. For most people, the effects of Brexit will be felt in the price of goods and availability of jobs.

According to CNN’s Brexit Jobs Tracker, there have been massive gains in Hospitality (+82K), Finance and Insurance (+12K), and Manufacturing (+26K). This is unfortunately offset by losses in Retail (-78K), Real Estate (-7K), and Education (-42K).

“The significant number of unfilled vacancies means that the problem is more about not having the right workers available rather than the economy not creating enough jobs,” explained Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG in London.

Trade and mobility within the EU affects certain types of jobs more than others. Agriculture, tech, finance, these things feed the international market. As shown by the increase in Hospitality and Manufacturing, businesses that help internal consumption will have to carry that weight.

 

Changes in Employment Law

While most aspects of UK Employment Law lie outside the scope of the EU, there are many ways the post-Brexit labor landscape will be directly or indirectly altered by the event. Examining the EU Withdrawal Bill White Paper gives us some examples.

  • TUPE

’Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981’ preserve employees’ terms and conditions when a business or undertaking, or part of one, is transferred to a new employer. While this is generally good for the employee, for the employer it introduces complexity. Due to assurances that worker’s rights will be preserved in the White Paper, things are unlikely to change much.

However, there may be some friction in transitioning from UK to EU employment (and vice versa) from the businesses moving after Brexit due to extra bureaucratic steps.

 

  • Discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010) already largely mirrors and implements the EU’s Equal Treatment Directive 2006 and there are no foreseeable issues with the law in this regard. Beyond the law however, compliance is going to be made more difficult due to a reduction in the available workforce.

Will the post-Brexit working environment be a more worker-focused place? Will employers exhibit far more preferential treatment to certain demographics in order to attract qualified workers? Grievances and claims of harassment in certain communities are also expected to rise after Brexit, and as such employers may need to consider measures and anti-bullying policies to mitigate such legal risks.

 

  • Equal Pay

Similar to the above, this is a matter where withdrawing from the EU will then default to the local law that more-or-less mirrors its provisions. The Equal Pay Act 2010 and the EU’s Article 157 have largely the same directives and protections.

 

  • Freedom of Movement

For as long as the implementation period of the Withdrawal Agreement, EU citizens would still be able to move to the UK on the same basis as they do today. The same will apply for UK nationals moving to the EU during the same period.

There will be put in place a registration system for EU citizens and family members who choose to stay more than three months. This does not override the Common Travel Area arrangements should Scotland and Ireland remain in the EU, and therefore will not need to register.

 

  • Grace Period

A blanket permission may be issued by the Home Office to start upon the UK’s exit from the EU and continue for up to two years. For this period, EU citizens living in the UK may apply for residence documentation.

 

  • Unrestricted Period

EU citizens arriving in the UK during the Implementation Period to undertake lawful activities like visiting, working, or studying, will have a “deemed leave” for a set period – possibly 3 months. If an EU citizen continues working beyond the unrestricted period without obtaining a residence permit, their employer may be liable for criminal sanction.

 

  • Change in Status for EU Nationals

This is an important issue for those who wish to remain in the UK or to enter it in the future. EU citizens will thereafter need to apply for a different status depending on how long they have already been in residence.

 

  • Settled Status

EU citizens with 5 years of continuous residence in the UK may apply for a new ‘settled status’ which will be similar to an ‘indefinite leave to remain’ for foreign nationals. Those who obtain this documentation will be able to demonstrate to prospective employers that they have ongoing rights to live and work in the UK irrespective of any migration controls that the governments may introduce for EU citizens post-Brexit.

 

  • Temporary Status

EU citizens present in the UK before the cut-off date but without 5 years continuous residence may apply for a ‘temporary status’ order so that they may remain in the UK long enough to apply for the ‘settled status’.

 

  • Non-EU family members of EU nationals

If they are lawfully present in the UK before and during the implementation date will be granted “deemed leave” to apply for settled status or a temporary leave. They will need to apply for a residence permit however, if they wish to study or work.

 

  • Dual Citizenship

It may be possible or more beneficial to apply for Dual Citizenship for EU citizens who already meet the requirements to preserve their working rights and freedom of movement between the UK and the EU. However those who wish to apply for permanent residency will also need to apply for a ‘settled status’ anyway.

 

  • Loss of UK access to the CJEU

As part of exercising their sovereignty, of course there is a cessation of recognition of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s jurisdiction. Documents and developments about worker’s rights that happen in the EU will not apply to those workers in Britain (except for those that voted to Remain, like Scotland and Northern Ireland).

There is a fear that while the UK may ossify existing provisions in the EU employment laws, business interests may chip away at EU-derived protections while keeping the basic framework.

Reducing entitlements relating to working times, leaves, equal opportunities, and other commonly accepted EU rights could be problematic, for both legal risks and employee relationships. Internal policies and contracts should perhaps not change too far from the previous status quo.

The White Paper states that UK Employment Law already goes further than the minimum standards set out in EU legislation, and it is the Government’s intent to continue to protect and enhance worker’s rights.

 

More Good News

  • More people are actually coming to the UK

Tourists, though. The depreciation of the pound made spending foreign currency in the UK more attractive. Exports are also benefiting from this trend.

 

  • Wages pick up after Brexit

Due to less immigration, some firms are force to raise wages in order to meet recruitment difficulties, Bloomberg reports. This a point to please those who voted Remain.

 

  • Special Relationship between UK and US deepens

The European Union is only the second largest single export market for goods. The largest is the United States. So while it may hurt to lose trade with the EU, so whatever shortfall could possibly be made up for in other markets or increased trade with the developing world.

 

More Bad News

  • More people are leaving the UK too

And not just foreign-born workers or the businesses being hysterically plugged by the media. Students/new workers and working professionals who wish to retain their prospects of working in the EU are considering overseas residency.

 

  • The Special Relationship requires stable leadership

But while our friends across the pond are being a bit unreliable about committing to any particular course, enduring trade deals are still up in the air. It is probably best to wait until 2019 to allow things to settle down.

 

  • Inflation is rising faster than wages

And with Brexit possibly making many things more expensive, this does not sound good for general quality of living. Raised wages means lessened profit margins for local business-owners as well.

 

Don’t Give Yourself Too Much Stress Until 2019

Even through all of this, the unknown is always more terrible than the known. Because it is still in the future, there’s so much to get anxious about.

However, it’s important to remember that the people of the UK have all weathered even stronger shocks before.

In the end things don’t turn out to be as bad as we could ever imagine. Once the event is actually before our eyes, then at least we will have concrete facts to work with and then can address those problems. Having something to work with is always better than directionless anxiety.

There are certainly things you can do right now to mitigate future damage. There are also things that you shouldn’t do, such as give in to panic, harassment, and scaremongering. Indulging in spite will help no one, while civilly helping each other to open new opportunities is likely to produce future success.

If you are a worker concerned with your employment and worker’s rights, don’t wallow in fear alone and find ways to get organized.

If you are a business owner concerned with the sustainability of your business post-Brexit, maintaining a sense of normalcy is more likely to keep customers.

It may also be a good time to become an entrepreneur, providing services and good in vacated markets. While others are deeply concerned with trade and export, the internal economy will need to pick up the slack.

The worst case scenario with “no deal” is extraordinarily unlikely. One positive thing that has been noted about the Post-Referendum political landscape is how common citizens have come to realize that it is important to be politically active and organized. Things may become significantly harder after leaving the EU, but you may lessen your fear about finding jobs after Brexit by not entertaining the worst possible outcomes, but rather being poised to accept the new equilibrium.

New Changes Within NHS Trusts That Protect Whistleblowers

The NHS is an institution that the British public is very proud of and should be lived up to. Everyone involved from doctors to nurses and other professionals within health care perform a tremendous service looking after and caring for those who are injured or ill. As of this year, in order to improve confidences within NHS, there are new policies and procedures guidelines that support whistleblowers that each National Health Service had to review.

Deliberations were concluded in May of 2016 and the final guidelines were released this year. The new policies were introduced after an intense period of discussions and after reviewing the reluctance of NHS staff to step forward with their concerns regarding the safety of patients and inadequate funding.

Many of the leading healthcare workers have long believed that speaking up had many consequences including:

They worked within a small team and feared the backlash they would get from their colleagues. They were also afraid of losing their jobs if they raised any concerns to their employer. Workers in ancillary and non-clinical positions felt they had fewer options because they did not have access to a prominent group of leaders or a union.

The National Health Service Director for Patient Experience strongly believes that in order to have the safest health system takes listening to their staff and taking action where needed. Should a staff member discover something that is putting patients at risk, they should feel safe in expressing these concerns without repercussions.

The new guidelines have been put in place to create good practices, provide primary care staffers more options in order to share their concerns, and allows employers to handle these concerns correctly. In order to have a safe NHS, there must be open and honest communication in order to routinely learn from their past mistakes. They should take these mistakes and learn how to improve their patients’ safety.

Whistleblowing can help point out bad practices going on within an organisation. That said, these claims must be honest because the final outcome could lead to criminal actions against an organisation while unveiling cover-ups that are dangerous and not in the best interests of patients.

In 2014, an independent review board, chaired by Sir Robert Francis, revealed that whistleblowers within NHS were intimidated, bullied, ignored, and, in many cases, fired. During an interview, Sir Francis stated that approximately 30% of those raising concerns felt unsafe after speaking up.

He went on to point out that 18% of staff employees did not trust the system and therefore would not speak up. Another 15% stated they were afraid of being victimised if they were to say anything at all. This climate of fear was created by a number of people losing their jobs because they chose to speak up. These people have lost their jobs, their livelihood, and have found it very difficult to find new employment. Sadly, some cases have felt suicidal tendencies or became seriously ill in the aftermath. Before releasing his report, Sir Francis said nurses, in particular, had raised many concerns regarding intimidation and bullying within NHS Trusts.

A survey conducted in 2013 of 8,262 nurses revealed that 24% had been warned against making any public statements regarding their concerns. Approximately 45% of the participants said their employers took no actions regarding their concerns and 44% were very concerned about suffering from repercussions or being fired. Other threats made them think twice about whistleblowing about dangerous or negligent practices they had witnessed.

Based on the recommendations of Sir Francis’s report, the foundation for establishing a new NHS guideline regarding whistleblowing was born. The new policies offer steps to protect the safety of NHS employees who speak up.

Each NHS Trust should appoint a Freedom To Speak Up Guardian. This individual should not be within the chain of command management group. He or she will provide support to staff members who have genuine concerns. There should be further steps taken to prevent inappropriate behaviour including harassment, discrimination, or bullying toward staff members who speak up.

All NHS primary care providers were required to review and update their policies and procedures by March of 2017. The principles of the agreed upon guidelines were then incorporated.

Last year in 2016, Dr. Henrietta Hughes, medical director for NHS England’s North Central and East London region, was named National Guardian for Safeguarding of Whistleblowers. Paraphrasing a statement after her appointment, she believed it takes a lot of courage, honesty, and selflessness to be a whistleblower. She also said that no one should ever be afraid to come forward for fear of punishment when speaking up for the safety and care of patients.

Along with her office, their national partners, and anyone who wants to support and protect staff members who speak up will help her drive a new agenda of openness. “Ultimately, these new policy guidelines will make for a safer NHS.” Staff members will have a great deal of support and gain confidence in speaking up especially for the public’s interest in safety.

The Case Of Dr. Hayley Dare – Feb 11, 2015:
Dr. Dare had a perfect 20-year reputation for helping patients and excellence within her field. Her entire career was damaged when she chose to speak up about concerns for patients’ safety to the CEO of the West London Mental Health NHS Trust. Absolutely no one should ever have to go through such a horrific experience like she did.

The NHS Trust spent £130,000 fighting Dare’s accusations, even though they understood that her claims were accurate. She was harassed, called “A Very Disturbed Women”, bullied, and then fired. After losing her job, based on a legal technicality, the Judge said her disclosure was not made in good faith (which did not exist at the time) and a provision that no longer has to be satisfied. The NHS Trust went after Dr. Dare for £100,000 in court costs.

In Conclusion:
Things have changed thanks to Sir Francis’ report, the creation of the Freedom To Speak Up Guardianship, the network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians in NHS Trusts, and others who support and protect those who speak up. No one should ever go through this again.

About Sir Robert Francis:
He is a British barrister who specialises in medical law, treatments for mental and medical issues, clinical discipline and negligence. He has chaired various independent investigations.

 

Are you eligible for UK Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a payment that an employer is required to make if you, as their employee, are away from work due to illness. It is an underlying regulation that is often superseded by employers’ own sick pay schemes and is enforced by law.

The first thing to do if you are sick is to check your employment contract. Many employers require that sick employees telephone by a certain time to announce their illness and all have a period of self-certification (usually seven days), during which a medical certificate is not required. It is very important to avoid breaching contract.

After the period of self-certification (again dependant on your contract), you will need to see your doctor and obtain a medical certificate. This will either give a certain period of time for recovery or a specific date to return to work. Throughout the period of illness, every day must be covered by a certificate – this is essential. Your employer will want the original for their files, so it’s worth taking a copy.

To be eligible for SSP, three conditions must be met: period of employment, amount of pay and period of sickness. These rules apply for permanent or agency employees (although the latter had different rules before the end of October 2008).

Firstly, you must have been employed by the same company for the eight weeks prior to your claim for sick pay. If the period of employment is shorter than this, it is up to the employer to decide if they wish to pay or not.

Secondly, you must have been earning enough money to make National Insurance contributions. In real terms, this works out to about 90 per week (gross). If your earnings are below this level, the employer is not obliged to pay.

Thirdly, you must have been sick for at least four days (weekends and bank holidays included) before you can claim SSP – that is, one day after the standard period of self-certification.

If all three conditions are met, your employer must pay you at least the basic amount of SSP. At present, this is £75.40 per week (assuming you work full-time). Of course, if the company has their own sickness scheme, you may receive more. You should also bear in mind that you can’t claim SSP at the same time as Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.

Two closing comments are also worthwhile. If you are not eligible or do not receive the full SSP amount (or even if you do, but have a partner who isn’t working), you can usually get government benefits, so contact your local JobCentre Plus; and if you are sick for more than three months, after which it is unlikely your employer will continue payments (and you may even lose your job, dependant on circumstances), you will be eligible for benefits at a higher rate – the period of sickness is considered to have started at the beginning of SSP payments.

Full details of SSP (including what you should do if you should be receiving it and aren’t) can be found on the DirectGov site.

Contact Hadaway & Hadaway for advice and help regarding employment law:
http://www.hadaway.co.uk/employment