Britain Outside the EU – What will January 2021 Bring for Your Business?

December 18, 2020

After years of tumult and uncertainty the Brexit transition phase ends on 31 December 2020, completing Britain’s process of leaving the European Union, so what will January 2021 bring for your business? Here are a few things to look out for.

Most things will be the same for now.

The end of the transition period means that the UK will no longer be bound to follow common EU policies and directives when it comes to regulations on businesses. This means that some of the rules that businesses in the UK are used to could potentially change. In the vast majority of cases though, there will be no immediate changes on 1 January 2021.

This is because the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 translated all EU regulations into UK law. The effect of this law is that if something is required, banned, or allowed by an EU regulation now, it will be required, banned, or allowed by a UK law from the 1stof January. This gives a degree of consistency to your business, at least in the short term, although the UK government will be able to change the rules using UK legislation in the future.

Working time and annual leave rules will not be based on the Working Time Directive.

Here at LeaveWizard, of course, we like to keep a keen eye on the laws surrounding annual leave, absence management, and working time. This is one of those areas we talked about in the first point, where nothing will change immediately. The major change to annual leave rules will be that they are no longer based on the European Working Time Directive (WTD), but instead directly based on British law.

This will, in fact, make very little difference to how annual leave works in the UK. The WTD provides a baseline of entitlements that every EU member state must guarantee to employees, but each country is free to offer more rights than this, and most, including the UK do. Leaving the EU does mean that the UK will be free to move below these minimums should Parliament decide to do so, but it seems unlikely that any party will see a political advantage in removing holiday entitlement from workers.

One thing that you can rely on is that we will always keep a watching eye on any changes to the rules. If there are any changes to annual leave regulations we will make sure that any changes are applied in the LeaveWizard platform so that you stay seamlessly up to date. We’ll also make sure to keep you up-to-date with any developments on this blog.

Entitlement to work.

One area of HR for UK businesses will see a definite change in 2021, and that is the rules around the entitlement of EU citizens to work in the UK, and UK citizens to work in Europe. As an EU member state, the EU granted all EU citizens the right to live and work in the UK, and UK workers received the same benefit in the EU. This arrangement continued through the transition period but will end on 31 December 2020.

If you are employing EU citizens in the UK then the government has announced that from 30th June 2021 you will need to check that any new employees who are EU citizens have the right to work, in the same way as you must for non-EU citizens. This will include the new Settled Status for those that have been living in the UK prior to Brexit. You don’t have to carry out checks on existing employees. If you have British employees working at your sites in EU countries, they will also lose the automatic right to work there, and you will need to make sure you follow the host country’s rules. UK and Irish citizens will carry on having the right to work in each other’s countries because of a common travel area from before either country joined the EU.

Stay in control.

In a period of change, it’s important the know that you are always following the rules. LeaveWizard offers a one-stop online leave and absence management platform that incorporates country-specific regulations to keep your business compliant.

See for yourself how seamless leave management works by booking your free online demo here.

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