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.


The UK Survives as a Country without a Constitution.

“What that doesn’t make sense. Isn’t it the UK that practically defined the whole concept of a Constitutional Monarchy?” is the most common response to this info.

Odd as it might sound, it is true that the UK is one of the very few nations on Earth that lacks a formal Constitution as a basis for its powers of governance. This fact often confuses visitors and students, and for those who wish to do business in the UK this is another strange cultural quirk that colors their expectations on the law and bureaucracy.

The UK is clearly a modern, developed country that until recently was pivotally located within the European federal framework, possessing far disproportionate power and influence to its geographic size and population. At no point in the past century has the lack of a formalized constitution been a hindrance to their governance, so how is it that they can do without this strongly defined legal foundation for their national identity?

Other Countries without a Constitution

But before we discuss how this works out in practice, here are the other nations that do not possess a formal constitution.

  • Israel
  • Saudi Arabia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada

There are literally only a handful of nations without a codified constitution. None of them can really be considered governmentally unstable states either. Israel has its Basic Laws as a general substitute for the spread of government activities, while Saudi Arabia’s monarchy bases their laws on Sharia Laws derived from the Quran. New Zealand and Canada have Constitution Acts that comprise a portion of their uncodified constitution and Acts of Parliament, treaties, orders, and court decisions to make up the difference. Of course, the interesting part of the latter two is how they define their constitutions as “similar in principle to the United Kingdom”.

But Why?

Unlike other nations that founded themselves based on principles laid out in their Constitution or overthrew their previous monarchs to set up a Republic, the UK’s constitutional powers evolved over centuries of compromise between the powers of the Monarchy and the House of Lords. Eventually this transitioned into the parliamentary system we use today.

There was never a drastic need to set out one big formal document detailing the powers, privileges and limits of the government because it was laid out across several other bodies of laws and customs.

The whole concept of a constitution, a charter, detailing the rights and obligations of a government was pioneered in these isles by the historic Magna Carta. However as times passed most of its provisions were repealed or its rights secured by other statutes, and the document holds little legal weight today. This is reflective of the fluid way the UK approaches the bonds of legalism from which is derived the protection of its citizens and the power of its government.

In certain ways, this approach makes it far easier to change the laws to be more responsive to the needs of the people. There is sometimes a distressing tendency not to treat constitutions as living documents that can be amended as the times change, but almost enshrined as unchanging holy writ from which derives all authority to act.

Flexibility of Bits and Pieces

So if not a Constitution where then does the UK derive its rule of state? The UK is simultaneously a monarchy and a representative democracy.

Though the Monarchy largely serves a ceremonial role at present, by law the executive power is vested from them to the Parliament. The 1689 Bill of Rights subordinates the authority of the Crown to the Parliament, one of the documents that among several others form the uncodified constitution of the UK, and an inspiration for the formation of other nations’ Constitutions later on.

Due to the evolutionary nature of British Law, the UK has something called the Parliamentary Supremacy, which grants it the certain qualities:

  • Parliament can make laws concerning anything,
  • No Parliament can bind a future parliament (that is, it cannot pass a law that cannot be changed or reversed by a future Parliament),
  • A valid Act of Parliament cannot be questioned by the court. Parliament is the supreme lawmaker.

“So the Parliament can’t be stopped by the courts? Isn’t that dangerous?” is the most common response from other nations that rely on the checks and balances between the judiciary, legislative and executive branches of government.

A common way to visualize the Parliament as the equal powers of the Crown, the House of the Commons and the House of Lords. In practice the bi-cameral (dual chamber) parliament plus the requisite monarchical ratification works out a comprehensive set of checks and balances that would otherwise have to be provided by a written constitution.

From Bill to Law and Partisan Bickering in Between

A major characteristic of the UK’s uncodified constitution is the meticulous process that a bill must go through before legal enactment.

Any bill must start at the House of Commons, the elected body of representatives whose Members of Parliament are empowered with legislative initiative. Known as the First Chamber, her legislation is proposed and debated before the final draft is submitted to the Second Chamber, the House of Lords.

This body is largely formed of appointees, and membership may pass from generations or new members proposed by the House of Commons. They no longer have the right to veto (since Parliamentary act of 1911) but only delay enactment of a bill or send back to the first chamber proposed changes to their bills.

While the unelected nature of a sizable legislative body may be disconcerting to someone not used to the parliamentary system, it is the function of the Upper Chamber made of appointees to consider public policies before they become Acts of Parliament and become law and to hold the government to account. They can take a longer view rather than the election-focused perspective of Members of Parliament. While the monarch has not used the power of veto for a very long time now, there still exists an important constitutional safeguard for the passing of laws.

This is in contrast to the sometimes acrimonious relationship between lawmaking bodies in other systems. It is true that there is still a lot of horrid politicking going on, and sometimes there are missteps in the direct way that the Parliament can propose binding conventions on national policy (the whole Brexit debacle), but rarely so how different branches can oppose each other based on partisan divisions.

Laws and the execution of laws are often challenged using being unconstitutional or not exactly forbidden by the constitution as a bludgeon. The Parliament is supposed to be a self-policing body, in a way that the Judiciary tends to serve in other systems. Because of this power to create and overturn any law that itself has made, the United Kingdom unlike most other European nations has been relatively inured to major (and sometimes bloody) social revolutions ever since the late 1600s.

It may not be readily apparent, but behind the scenes is often just as strict and detailed code of conduct that help to ensure the government runs smoothly day by day. Though there is not a single definitive document as a constitution to define the government, there are various codes and practices and layers of custom that help to curtail excesses of power.

Still Waters, Deep Currents

Though it is not so obvious on first glance, the UK constitution does exist in a very operative form. Centuries and a lot of blood was spilled to create this system that sharply restrained both the abusable powers of the monarchy and the temptation of narrow-minded populist desires.

Though lacking a single document, its different Bills and Acts of Parliament and other laws all combine to a system that has served to inspire the formation of many other democratic nations. It can be argued to have one of the oldest and most successful constitutions that has ever existed. One can be confident that it can continue to survive in this manner for quite a while longer using this irrepressible historical momentum of a tradition that demands an ability to change and adapt.

divorce UK

Adultery And Divorce: Why The Two Don’t Always Go Hand-In-Hand

A divorce can only be granted in England and Wales if saving a marriage is absolutely futile. In order to be granted a divorce, there must be one of five specific reasons that are set down by a divorce petition.

One of the five factors that can be used to grant a divorce is adultery. Unfortunately, it’s also the most common of the 5. According to a recent study, more than 50% of men and 26% of women in a marriage will have at least one affair during their marriages.

Recently, a client came to me, his wife was soliciting for a casual sex on the internet at a site that caters to illicit affairs for married people. Scanning the website was a stunning experience! There are literally hundreds of married people who are looking for out of marriage affairs with absolute strangers.

The potential for divorce when an unsuspecting spouse discovers their other half is looking for an affair and has incriminating evidence to that fact. As in the case of this client, that’s pretty substantial information but is it enough for the unsuspecting spouse to get a petition based on adultery?

In family law, this is a pretty straightforward area. That said, it can be a little confusing because most people think there’s more behind it then there really is. The fact of the matter is it’s much broader and complicated than one might think. In order to obtain a divorce on the basis of adultery, the offending partner must have already committed adultery. The Petitioner must state that he or she finds the action unbearable and does not wish to continue living with the offender.

There are several common misconceptions regarding adultery and divorce. There are many questions that people have on the subject. Hopefully, this article will clear the air a bit.

By UK Law,

“adultery is only relevant on the grounds for divorce where the act has actually taken place. If a sexual relationship is with someone of the same sex or the relationship is not sexual, it is not considered adultery.”

Here are some leading misconceptions regarding adultery…

Adultery covers any sexual activity

As stated above, adultery does not cover all sexual activities. If it is only sexual intercourse that takes place between a consenting man and woman who either one or both are married to someone else. Any other form of sexual satisfaction is not sufficient to prove adultery.

If you have already separated from your spouse

Only if your spouse has sexual intercourse with another party while you are still married is it deemed as adultery. That said, you can only file for divorce if you can prove that adultery has taken place and you find it unbearable to go on living with your spouse.

It is not adultery if you are already divorced

It is still adultery if the other party involved is still married to someone else, at the time. If a party was raped, under the age of 16 or consent was obtained by fraud, sexual intercourse under any of those circumstances is not adultery.

Another fact, if the other party is with a wife in a polygamous marriage, it’s not adultery as far as the spouse in the same marriage.

An extra-marital relationship between two people of the same sex

Again, adultery only applies when there has been sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Therefore, an extra-marital relationship between two people of the same sex is considered improper association but not adultery. If a spouse wishes to dissolve the marriage, they can instead file on the basis of unreasonable behaviour.

Adultery before the marriage is still adultery if found out about after the marriage

A spouse who was unfaithful before the marriage has not committed adultery. It will only be considered as adultery if the affair continues after the marriage.

You find it unbearable to continue living with your spouse, it must be linked to adultery

That is not necessarily true. If adultery was the final straw in the marriage or you are experiencing a history of unpleasant behavior, you can file for divorce using divorce solicitors.

You want to shame the other man or woman in the divorce petition

You may want to publicly shame the other party, but it is not a requirement for divorce nor recommended. If your spouse has admitted to adultery, there is no reason to name the other party unless you are looking for revenge. It might make you feel better but it could make a mess out of the divorce. Everyone could easily experience higher costs and you run the risk of gaining the judge’s disapproval. Let it go!

It’s my advice that you show dignity and instead concentrate on other issues such as your children and finances. You could seek costs in the divorce suit, though not finances or children, as they are separate. There are fees that you will be responsible for including the actual petition fee of £340, your attorney’s fees and an absolute fee for £40.

The third-party’s finances will pay off the other spouse

The fact is, that’s just never going to happen. There are circumstances where a partner’s new spouse has finances that could indirectly affect the ex-spouses finance before the divorce and to meet this person’s needs.

If you commit adultery the courts will be against you dealing with your finances & children

Again, this is not the case. Most marriages fall apart due to both parties. Adultery might happen during a failing marriage but it’s not generally the cause.

You can counterbalance the petition by filing a statement explaining the reasons why you think the marriage fell apart before the adultery took place.

Based on adultery, your petition for divorce will entitle you to a larger settlement

Wrong again! Adultery by itself is not regarded by the courts as conduct that would be inequitable to disregard. The case would depend on the details and the judge will retain a wide level of discretion in addressing it to arrive at what would be considered a fair conclusion.

That said, conduct that is referred to as “gross and obvious” would definitely affect the divorce settlement. For instance, there was a case when a wife continually stabbed her husband and left him incapacitated for life. That situation fell into gross and obvious and her entire settlement was reduced.

Keep in mind, after learning about adultery, you only have six months to file a divorce petition. Once the six months have elapsed, you cannot use adultery for your divorce. The courts will deem your actions as tolerating and condoning the conduct.

Think about this – divorce is not about putting individuals through trials and tribulations. It’s about drawing a line in the sand and allowing both parties to move on with their lives.

In my experience, I have never seen either party totally forgive the other, even years later. Chances are, they will remember what they forgave in court just to move on but never really did.