Brexit and the social care sector

With Brexit imminent, and still no clear idea of its final shape as we publish this article, this is an unsettling time for employers who rely on non-UK EU nationals, as well as the employees themselves.

At Southdown we’re committed to supporting our 83 EU colleagues (9% of our employees) to retain residency and employment in the UK if they wish to.

We are doing this through a number of ways including ensuring our colleagues are kept updated and have access to advice and also that our managers can provide informed personal support to their staff as needed.

There is a well-documented recruitment crisis in the care sector, particularly acute in the South-East. Demand is rising inexorably, not only from an ageing population but also from the increasing number of people living with complex, chronic and multiple conditions.

There is an inadequate labour supply for these low paid care roles and Southdown, like most other providers, is experiencing difficulty in recruiting staff and increasing difficulty in retaining staff.

The escalating challenges of reducing supply and increasing demands for care staff would be further worsened by EU workers losing their rights to work.

We are supporting the recent lobbying of the government to exempt care workers from proposed rules limiting migration and access to the UK labour market after Brexit.

The government is consulting on recommendations by its Migration Advisory Committee that a £30,000 salary cap be imposed for lower-skilled workers; this would effectively exclude care workers (as would a cap even at £20,000).

We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to do everything we can to support our EU colleagues and the sustainable staffing of our care services.