Act now to keep your business moving in 2021: Are you prepared for Brexit?

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As the UK embarks on its new start as an independent trading nation following Brexit, Business Minister Paul Scully has set out six key actions businesses must take to ensure they can seize all the opportunities on the horizon.

As businesses in all sectors are reacting to the new international trade deal, there are a plethora of new regulations that all companies should make themselves aware of.

However, there are a range of actions businesses must take in order to take advantage of any opportunities outside the customs union and single market.

Today, Minister Scully is urging businesses who have not yet taken steps to prepare for the UK’s new start to act now to avoid any potential disruption to their operations.

Business Minister Paul Scully said: “The UK is finally out of the EU single market and customs union, and business is changing. Many businesses have made great strides to get ready for the UK’s new start, but we know some are further behind. To avoid any potential disruption to your business, you must not delay – make your final preparations now. The government will be here to help businesses navigate this change. You can use this checklist, watch our on demand videos, or visit gov.uk/transition to get personalised advice.”

Six key actions firms may need to take

    1. Goods – if you import or export goods to the EU, you must get an EORI number, make customs declarations or employ an agent to do them for you, check if your goods require extra papers (like plant or animal products) and speak to the EU business you’re trading with to make sure they’re completing the right EU paperwork. There are also special rules that apply to Northern Ireland. Hauliers must obtain a Kent Access Permit and have a negative Covid test before they head to port in Kent
    2. Services – if you deliver services to the EU, you must check whether your professional qualification is recognised by the appropriate EU regulator
    3. People – if you need to hire skilled staff from the EU, you must apply to become a licensed sponsor
    4. Travel – if you need to travel to the EU for business, you must check whether you need a visa or work permit
    5. Data – if your goods are protected by Intellectual Property (IP), you will need to check the new rules for parallel exporting IP protected goods from the UK to the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. You risk infringing on IP rights if you do not follow the new rules
    6. Accounting & Reporting – if your business has a presence in the EU you may need to change how you undertake accounting and reporting to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements

Industry reaction

The CIPD has responded to concerns that worker protections could be ripped up as part of a post-Brexit overhaul of UK labour employment law, warning that the current framework already strikes the right balance for workers and employers
Rachel Suff, employee relations adviser for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments: “The UK labour market already provides a good balance between providing reasonable protection for individuals and flexibility for employers.

“The UK has one of the most lightly regulated labour markets in the OECD when it comes to employment protection for individual workers and our research on this issue with employers shows few concerns with the current framework.

“There may be a case for some tweaks to aspects of the Working Time Regulations, for example where case law has led to confusing changes on holiday pay calculation or on how working time is recorded but our research shows that overall employers are supportive of these regulations.

“Six in ten employers report that the Working Time Regulations are necessary to protect the health and safety of workers, with just 13% disagreeing.

“The big issue the Government should be focusing on before looking at de-regulation should be improving how existing employment rights are enforced through publishing its long-awaited response to the consultation on the creation of a single enforcement body. An improved labour market enforcement system would be the strongest signal that the Government really is committed to protecting workers’ rights.”

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