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CIPD urges government for ‘clarity’ on position of EU workers

The government needs to state whether non-UK residents have the right to remain and work in the UK following the country’s vote to leave the European Union, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has said.

The CIPD carried out a survey of employers, which found that 36% said non-UK employees had expressed concern about their right to remain, whilst the same amount had received staff concerns about job security.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics published today show that the UK unemployment rate was at 4.9% in March-May this year, the lowest since July 2005, but it is not known what impact June’s referendum result will have. The International Monetary Fund announced yesterday that it is reducing its prediction for the UK’s economic growth in 2017 from 2.2% to 1.3%.

Ben Wilmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “The government needs to clearly set out their plans at the earliest opportunity for non-UK citizens to give those workers the clarity and security that they are seeking.”

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has called for the government to guarantee a right to remain for health and social care workers from EU countries, as reported yesterday in PSE’s sister title National Health Executive.

Wilmott said that employers should communicate closely with their employees in order to reassure them and keep them updated on any changes.

The survey also showed a worrying rise in workplace tension and division, with 8% of respondents saying incidents had been reported and 25% saying incidents had been hinted.

There have been widespread reports of hostility towards EU immigrants and ethnic minorities since the referendum result, with the rate of reported hate crimes 57% higher than before the referendum.

Wilmott urged employers to take a firm role in preventing incidents of abuse at work, saying: “Line managers in particular have a key role in nipping conflict in the bud and making sure that what some may see as ‘banter’ does not cross the line and become offensive or harassment.”

(Image c. Stefan Rousseau from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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