Ongoing discussions

With ongoing discussions between Brexit secretary David Davis and European chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, it’s easy to concentrate on the purely economic and financial cost of Brexit, writes Adam Bernstein.

After all, money makes the world go around - less so for Britain if the EU wins and we have to stump up around £88bn (although I’d like to think the UK will get some benefit of the programmes it previously committed to and may end up paying for).

But what about us - the people of both the UK and EU? How will we fare?

At the end of June, the UK government published a paper outlining its proposals to deal with EU citizens living in, or who want to come to the UK. The government’s idea is to create a playing field that applies in equal measure to UK citizens living in other EU countries. If the proposals are agreed, the Irish will be fine as will anyone else who’s been here five years or more. As for everyone else, only time will tell how they’re to be treated.

What this means is that business need to actively need to plan for the possibility of (a) losing staff refused leave to stay in the UK and (b), being unable to employ staff that hail from EU nations.

But there’s more to the issue. How should firms reassure (foreign) members of staff facing Brexit-induced uncertainty? According to research from Office Genie, a firm that sources office space, feelings of job insecurity among the UK workforce rose 149% after the decision to leave the EU. Pre-referendum, 70% of workers felt secure in their job, now just over half (58%) feel secure.

Clearly employers need to take an active role in assuaging employee concerns over both job security and also in terms of any potential discrimination they may encounter.

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