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Brexit Considerations for HR & H&S

With the increase in Covid cases, the potential for more restrictions on top of lockdown 3 and the vaccine roll out it would be easy to forget the fact that we have left the EU, with a deal.
Although with a deal, there are implications for HR and H&S in the longer term. On the short term, there are some implications you need to be aware of. These will impact some businesses more than others and some not at all, however you all need to be aware of the issues.

Implications of Brexit on HR

Business after Brexit – now the UK has left the EU, what does that mean in terms of your People?

The UK left the EU at 11pm on Thursday 31 December 2020, from that point, the UK is now separate from the European Union. This may have some impact on your business, especially if you have previously operated within or imported/exported goods to/from the EU. But how does this affect you in terms of your HR and your staff? Below are some areas to consider or take action.

Employing European Nationals

If you already have European nationals working within your organisation, the good news is that you do not currently need to do anything to be legally compliant to continue to employ them. From 30 June 2021, however, you will have to ensure they have either pre-settled status or settled status. 

For any new employees that you take on, you can still use the same check as before to confirm their eligibility to work in the UK, following 30 June 2021, all European Nationals will need to be able to evidence their pre-settled or settled status.

To be eligible to live and work within the UK without a visa an employee must have arrived in the UK by 11pm on 31 December 2020. Individuals who are out of the UK for more than 6 months will have a break in their residence and will have to start their residence again.

Employees who returned home during the coronavirus pandemic will have had to ensure they had not been out of the UK for more than 6 months, or ensured they returned to the UK before the 11pm deadline on 31 December 2021, otherwise they will no longer be eligible for pre-settled or settled status.

If your employees are not sure whether they need to apply for the EU settlement scheme they can complete the following online tool to identify what they need to do. Employees may also need to apply for other family members, including dependants.

Although European Nationals have until 30 June 2021 to apply for the European Settlement Scheme, it is recommended they do so as soon as possible to prevent delays in status being granted. Applying for the scheme can be undertaken by going to:

GDPR and Brexit

From 1 January 2021, the UK gained full autonomy on the rules on data protection for the UK. Now that the transition period has ended, the Data Protection law has been converted into UK domestic Law, with a few minor changes to ensure it is operable in the UK. 

“The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement contains a bridging mechanism that allows the continued free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK after the transition period until adequacy decisions come into effect, for up to 6 months. EU adequacy decisions for the UK would allow for the ongoing free flow of data from the EEA to the UK.”

Although employers will not need to do anything now with their data, it is recommended that businesses take stock of their data and where it is obtained from to ensure they can identify if EU laws would be relevant to any form of personal data held.

“As a sensible precaution, before and during the bridging mechanism, it is recommended that you work with EU/EEA organisations who transfer personal data to you to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.”

Further details on how the UK leaving the EU may affect data protection can be found here.

As always, if you have any questions in relation to how Brexit may affect your HR plans and organisation, please do not hesitate to get in contact with your lead Consultant who will be pleased to help.

What about Health Safety?

Adieu to the EU

For all employers your responsibilities to protect the health, safety, wellbeing and welfare of their employees as well as the people affected by your work activities remain. Yes, things at present generally remain the same with regards to Health and Safety.

The main change impacting on most organisations will relate to their purchasing of plant, work equipment and machinery.

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 as amended require that Machinery, including plant and work equipment): is safe when supplied; comes with a Declaration of Conformity and user instructions in English; and is marked with the UKCA conformity marking (or CE mark until 31 December 2021 in GB).

The Health and Safety Executive have updated their short guide to buying new machinery which highlights the changes and can be downloaded from here. Further guidance and information can be accessed via the HSE website here.

There are some new rules and procedures businesses must follow to if they wish to continue to manufacture and place chemicals, civil explosives and work equipment and machinery on to the new UK domestic market and separate rules will apply to Northern Ireland following the Brexit negotiations.

Chemicals Industry

While the UK may have left the EU, our government and regulators, remain strongly committed to the effective and safe management of chemicals. Due to our leaving the EU, some regulations have obviously changed, and guidance produce by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the changes and action to take post Brexit can be found here: -

  • Biocides - Authorisation of biocidal substances and products
  • CLP - Classification, labelling and packaging of substances and chemicals.
  • PIC - Prior informed consent
  • PPP - Pesticides or Plant Protection Products
  • REACH - Registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals

Civil Explosives Industry

The Explosives Regulations 2014 as amended, state that manufacturers and suppliers must not place, or make available, civil explosives on the market unless they conform with certain requirements, including meeting the essential safety requirements, conformity attestation against the relevant tests and correct application of the new UKCA mark.

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new UK product marking that is used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking.

Further information on this is available via the HSE website here.

Manufacturers and Suppliers of New Work Equipment

All new work equipment must by design, construction and supply comply with one or more legal requirements when first placed on the market or put into service, to ensure that they can be used safely and without harm.

This HSE website provides guidance and information, as well as describing the main provisions of the legislation concerned with the design, manufacture and supply of new products, including:

  • designing and building for safety
  • assessing product conformity
  • demonstrating product compliance
  • providing users with relevant information

It also provides a summary of the UK, law implementing these provisions, and where for export to the European single market, EU law and can be accessed here.

If you have any questions on this or any other aspect of Health and Safety Legislation, please contact our offices on 01206 752100.

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