8 steps to prepare your business for Brexit now

Posted on October 28, 2019
Posted by Claire Woolf

Prepare your business for Brexit

prepare your business for BrexitThe EU has agreed to a flextension until 31 January 2020, but with three months to go, there is still a lack of clarity for businesses about the UK’s exit from the EU. Leave the trick or treating for Halloween with our Brexit myth-buster, as we clear up some of the uncertainties, let you know what the Government’s guidance for businesses really says and suggest some steps you can take to prepare your business for Brexit now.

For more detailed guidance about how to prepare your business for Brexit, you can use the Government’s Brexit tool.


Myth 1: My staff from the EU won’t be able to carry on working for me after Brexit.

What the Government has said:  Your existing staff members from the EU will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 31 December 2020 (in the event of a no deal) or 30 June 2021 (if an agreement is reached) if they want to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

What can I do now?: Although you’re not legally obliged to inform your staff about the EU Settlement Scheme, it’s good practice to do so to make sure they’re prepared for Brexit and that you avoid the risk of losing staff from your workforce. Equally, your obligations to ensure that all of your staff have the right to work in the UK remain.


Myth 2: Brexit will erode “worker’s rights”

What the Government has said: After Brexit, businesses will still need to abide by all of their existing legal obligations in respect of things like the minimum wage, working hours, sick pay, annual leave, parental leave and TUPE. All of these rights are written into UK law, and will only be changed if employment law is reformed by the Government after Brexit.

What can I do now?: You should continue to adhere to your current legal responsibilities and obligations towards your staff.


Myth 3: I will need to apply for new EU and UK trade marks after Brexit

What the Government has said: After Brexit, your existing EU trade mark will still offer protection within the EU. Your EU trade mark won’t offer protection in the UK after Brexit, but the Government has said it will create an equivalent UK trade mark for you (to protect your trade mark in the UK) free of charge. If you currently only have a UK registered trade mark, this won’t be affected by Brexit.

What can I do now?: Stay up to date. For more information, see the Government’s guidance.


Myth 4: My European patent won’t protect me in the UK after Brexit

What the Government has said: The UK will remain a member of the European Patents Organisation (EPO) after Brexit, so European patents will be largely unaffected by Brexit. Your existing patent from the EPO will still provide protection in the UK after Brexit, and you will still be able to apply to the EPO for European patents which cover the UK after Brexit.

What can I do now?: Stay up to date. For more information, see the Government’s guidance.


Myth 5: I can’t do anything to prepare to export or import my goods to the EU until I know if there is a deal or no-deal Brexit

What the Government has said: The government has made clear that there are a number of steps you can and should be taking to prepare your business for Brexit if you export or import goods to the EU.

What can I do now? Make sure you’ve read the Government’s guidance and are clear about the steps you must take. For example, most businesses should have received an EORI number and an auto-enrolment for Transitional Simplified Procedures and you should contact HMRC if you have not received these. You should also check whether your customs agent, freight provider or contact in the EU need more information from you to keep transporting or receiving your goods after Brexit, and you may need to set up a duty deferment account.


Myth 6: Copyright I create in the UK won’t be protected in the EU after Brexit

What the Government has said: Most work that you create in the UK will still be protected by copyright in the EU after Brexit. This is because the UK and EU provide mutual protection for each other’s citizens’ copyright under international treaties, which are not affected by Brexit. However, you should note that some cross-border arrangements in copyright law will not apply after Brexit, as they provide specific protections to EU members.  For example, the UK Government has said that cross-border portability (the requirement that EU citizens are able to access their online services content anywhere in the EU) will no longer apply to the UK after Brexit.

What can I do now?: Stay up to date. For more information, see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/changes-to-copyright-law-after-brexit and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cross-border-portability-of-online-content-services-after-brexit


Myth 7: I no longer need to worry about GDPR after Brexit

What the Government has said: While the GDPR is EU law, the Government has committed to maintaining its high standards post-Brexit and plans to incorporate it into UK law.

What can I do now?: You must continue to comply with the current GDPR standards now and in the wake of Brexit. Equally, if you have an office, branch or other establishment in an EU country, or if you have EU customers, you will still need to continue to comply with GDPR post-Brexit along with UK data protection law.


Myth 8: I can no longer share personal data with countries in the EU after Brexit

What the Government has said: Transfers of personal data from the UK to the EEA will not be restricted after Brexit and you will be able to carrying on sending data without taking any further action. If you are receiving personal data from EEA countries, you will likely need to take further steps to ensure that you can continue to do so post-Brexit.

What can I do now?: The ICO has advised that putting in place Standard Contractual Clauses between yourself and the sender of the personal data, will be the best action for most businesses to take to prepare for Brexit. The ICO has model clauses that you can use.


The content in this article is up to date at the date of publishing. The information provided is intended only for information purposes, and is not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Sparqa Legal’s Terms of Use apply.