Hello PPMA members and friends
What a weekend it has been and what start to the new PPMA year.
Now that the news has begun to sink in what are the implications for us in the public sector? The PPMA is here to support you and we will be working hard to make sure that we keep you up to date and in touch with what is happening. Sharing is what we are good at and we have a fantastic community through which to collaborate, discuss and support each other as we rise to the challenges resulting from this momentous decision.
Clearly there are direct links between UK employment rights and the EU, and as employers we have, at times, been frustrated with quickly implemented legislation and directives which have come from Brussels without due regard for the views raised by member states. That said, we do have good employment conditions and we will be keen to ensure that workers in the UK are protected whatever comes next. It may be that the the government opt to retain EU employment law in any deal for the future relationship with our European neighbours. Certainly, in terms of trading it may be that we are put under pressure to retain employment rights so that we are trading on a level playing field.
Some if our legislation exceeds minimum EU requirements and it is unlikely that that will change as a result of Brexit. Where the law supports our business and economy this will be a primary objective and the case for change does not stack up.
Our Equality laws are valuable to us and our commitment to diversity is something we will wish to preserve. We have seen some ugly exchanges, especially on social media, this weekend that suggest we would want to ensure that we hold on to legislation that helps us to build a diverse workforce and preserves the kind of society we want to live in. The rights of part time and fixed term workers, business transfers and family rights are all valued in terms of getting the best from our employees.
Whatever the political complexion of the UK government is would seem appropriate to take a measured approach and decide what works and what’s worth keeping rather than wholesale bonfire of EU legislation.
It is highly unlikely that any change will come about quickly. Some commentators are predicting a 2 year period before we can unravel the relationship and many suggest it will take much, much longer. There are questions around the Apprenticeships Levy given that the Leave Campaign pledged to abolish it. Given that it is not yet in statute we may see that fall off the cliff whilst other things are resolved – watch this space.
We could see workforce change but this is likely to be in small steps and resulting from the changing relationship with the EU when we exit formally. The key considerations will be around freedom of movement for our workforce and access to skilled workers. We know that the NHS depends on European workers and we have seen local authorities recruiting social workers from across member states. The most useful thing we can do now is determine the employment status of our employees and prepare to support them in getting the right things in place to help us keep them – we will continue to need good people in the public sector, from a variety of backgrounds and this is not going to change.
We are in uncertain times. We have rolled with harder punches and I am in no doubt that we’ll make the best of this decision and build a brighter future as we have before. HR will have a major role to play and we are with you.
Please do let us know your thoughts, share any actions you are taking and let us know what we can do to support you where you are.
Sue Evans, PPMA President