What Brexit really means for small employers

Brexit has been on the cards since June 2016. We’ve now handed in our resignation. What can you expect while we work out our notice?

Employment Rights after Brexit

The “IN” campaigners were adamant employment rights were going to be eroded. In reality, until we leave the EU in 2019, we have to follow existing EU rules.

In fact, some of our laws are already more generous than Europe demands. For example:

  • Annual leave under EU law – 20 days
  • Annual leave under UK law – 28 days

Even when we “get our P45”, any changes in the law will have to go through the usual process. We all know that won’t be quick. We don’t even know if the Government will want to make changes.


48 Hour Opt Out

EU law dictates employees can only be required to work a maximum of 48 hours per week. This is averaged out over a rolling 17 weeks.

For our cousins in Europe, this fitted into the way they worked. In the UK, not so much. Many people want to work overtime to earn extra money. The Government of the time negotiated an opt-out. Employees could opt to work more hours.

While this has brought some important protection to workers, it’s also brought a lot of red tape.  Post-Brexit, I expect this to disappear.


What should you be worried about post Brexit?

According to the Office of National Statistics, in the UK in 2015, 31.42 million people were in work. There are currently more than 3 million EU Nationals living in the UK. Even if only half of these are working, that is still a significant chunk of the current workforce.

Many work in low paid jobs less popular with UK citizens. For example, hospitality, care and farming. Until we leave the EU, they have the right to continue to do so. What is less clear at the moment is, what happens then?

At the moment these people are being used as a bargaining chip. We won’t guarantee your citizens’ rights unless you guarantee ours. Understandable but upsetting, no doubt, for everyone affected.

If you rely on overseas workers for the smooth running of your business, start planning now what you will do if you suddenly have to do without. Think creatively. Could apprenticeships be an option? Talk to your local job centre or charities about any schemes you may be able to support.


Just like any notice period, the time is going to fly by. Whether your sad to go or can’t wait for opportunities new, a bit of pre-planning is a must.

Categories Employment law