German born Chief Executive of Jaguar Land Rover discussed the impact of Brexit on recruitment saying, “People who come to the UK want to have special conditions because they don’t know whether they have to leave…”
If employers understand how the proposals are likely to affect EU nationals, then we may begin to understand how to provide meaningful assurances and take steps to support them to stay in your employ.
KPMG reported the top things EU nationals want from their employers. These being:
- clear commitment that their employer wants them to stay (51%)
- more communication about how Brexit will affect them (47%)
- help to apply for UK residency (43%)
- publicly asserting the importance of EU-born staff (39%)
- a pay rise to compensate for the weaker pound (36%)
Here’s what you can do for EU staff…
We have put together some practical ideas under headings of things that will be close to home, to help you help you EU staff. They will be deliberating over whether to stay or go now, so it is worth putting things in place without delay in order that they may make an informed decision. If you decide to enhance terms or offerings, remember to apply these to your workforce as a whole.
Don’t be shy about approaching EU nationals in fear of treating them differently and discriminating. Positive support will be welcome and demonstrates your sensitivity to their needs and that you value their work.
1. Support them with concerns about residency and rights
Employment status may impact on whether an individual is able to be granted leave to remain. If you have staff unsure about the future, you may want to take steps to reassure them that there is no awareness of redundancies on the horizon (Particularly if you have recently undergone a restructure etc.)
Avoid refraining from good practices purely because the Employment Rights Act gives flexibility in respect of those without qualifying service. A sense of instability can be created when risky or impromptu ER procedures are used which can make longevity in a company seem uncertain. Therefore, you may want to ensure your managers practice full and fair disciplinary and capability procedures. This will reassure staff that good conduct and adequate performance is likely to keep them in a job.
It may also be well worth investing in an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that will offer confidential legal advice on this subject.
2. Support them with worries about family and their earnings
Rights of family members of EU citizens living in the UK are likely to become far more stringent post Brexit. Rights may be more tightly means tested so it may be worth conducting a bench marking exercise, ensuring that you offer remuneration competitive for the role. As the pound weakens EU nationals considering returning home will be incentivised to stay by increasing salaries to match the difference – particularly if they are in the UK and sending money home for their children and dependents.
In the same vein, you may want to allow or promote your willingness to consider applications for a career break. This may be a particularly attractive benefit for an EU candidate or existing employee who is troubled by being apart from their families for a prolonged period. You may also consider relaxing any rules to restrict the quantity of annual leave that you permit to be booked in a single block.