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What would a “Leave” vote mean for UK employment and recruitment?

by kyna-admin on June 10th, 2016

With the upcoming vote on the 23rd of June, Kyna Associates takes a look at the impact an exit from the European Union could have on current employment regulations and the possible effects on the Recruitment industry.

Employment law is likely to remain unchanged:

Although there is a clear argument for the reduction of EU red-tape surrounding employment regulations, EU derived employment laws have become entrenched into the fabric of UK society. Domestic employment laws surrounding discrimination, equal pay and disability actually precede any EU agreement or directives, making these unlikely to change. Protections against unfair dismissal, redundancy pay and minimum wage are also determined by our domestic laws.

The Working Time Directive is one EU Directive which may see some change. Workers can currently opt-out of the 48 hour cap on their working week but they are unable to opt out of any other parts of the directive. Although the provisions outlined by the directive will be difficult to isolate, UK employers may have the chance to impact current law in regards to holiday pay and sick-leave.

Two current countries which are often used as examples of success outside of the European Union are Norway and Switzerland. However both of these countries are part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and are subject to the same employment and working regulations as EU Member States as conditions of their trade agreements.

So what areas are likely to be impacted?

It’s important to highlight that if the UK votes to leave, there is a two year notice period before it can fully separate itself from the European Union, meaning any change in regulation will be a slow process and subject to change as a result of proposed trade agreements or further negotiations.

Agency Workers Rights:

The Agency Workers Rights Directive (AWR) outlines the employment rights of Agency Workers, providing them with the same rights as permanent employees after 12 weeks of employment. The directive also calls for extensive record keeping often seen as a time consuming task for small businesses. This, coupled with the cost of providing the same level of benefits for both permanent and temporary employees, is one of the areas which is believed will be facing some change if the UK votes to leave.


Again, bearing in mind that any changes surrounding this will only be able to be implemented after 2 years of notifying the European Union of the UK’s wishes to leave, British nationals who currently spend a large amount of time overseas due to work purposes will no longer have the right to be able to do this without facing issues surrounding visas. The freedom of movement, which often facilitates the running of multi-national organisations and the ability for their worker’s to easily travel across borders will certainly be impacted.

What does this mean for Recruitment?

A possible EU exit will mean that those currently working within the recruitment industry or those with hiring responsibilities will need to develop a better understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding immigration if they wish to continue finding talent outside of the UK.

With a shortage of candidates with relevant skills currently affecting various sectors such as technology, attracting overseas talent in order to fill the current gap could prove problematic. With 43.2% of UK Recruiters stating that possible Brexit would only increase the current skills gap, methods would need to be put in place in order to facilitate the recruitment of skilled workers in to the UK.

Have you considered the impact a possible exit could have on your recruitment strategy or affect your current methods of talent attraction? Let us know your thoughts and follow Kyna Associates on LinkedIn for regular recruitment insights, market analysis and fantastic opportunities in Executive Appointments, IT and Business Change with some of the UK’s leading organisations.

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