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How should businesses prepare for Brexit?

The European Union (EU) has agreed to extend the Brexit transition deadline until 1 January 2021. This means there will be new rules for businesses from 1st January. Find information and advice on this hub including the link to the Gov questionnaire to find out how ready your business is and what you need to do before the end of the year.

We’ve compiled the latest Government guidance on how business owners should prepare themselves and their businesses for Brexit.

This guidance is subject to change at any time, so please bookmark this page and take a look at it regularly for updates. Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive regular Brexit updates straight to your inbox.

Not sure where to start?

Use the online checker to find out what you or your business will need to do to get ready for the 1st January 2021 deadline. It should only take a few minutes to complete.

Click here to start



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Employment, HR and Health & Safety +

Most small businesses may not have a dedicated HR person to look into changes relating to Brexit, so it often falls on the business owner to make sure the business is compliant.

Whilst many employment rights originally derived from Europe, all of them have been implemented into UK law by UK statute. That means, there should be no immediate impact on UK employment law and it will remain the same as it is now. However, there may be more of an impact on migrant workers and the ability to lawfully recruit and employ EU nationals.

Bira members have access to Employment Law, HR and Health and Safety advice completely included in the cost of membership. So, if you’re an independent retailer, but not yet a member of Bira, now’s the time to join to access this benefit as we transition through Brexit.

Here’s some Gov resources to keep you up to date on the latest advice.

Transporting and importing goods to the EU post-Brexit +

When the UK leaves the EU there may be changes to UK-EU trade at the UK border. These changes may affect customs, tariffs, VAT, safety and security, documentation, vehicle standards, and controlled products. Here you’ll find links to guidance on importing and exporting from and to the EU, so you can keep up-to-date on any implications for UK small businesses post-Brexit.

To keep your products moving across the border, you’ll need to register for an EORI number (UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification number), decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself and contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out what information they need to make the declarations for your goods, or if you will need to make them yourself.

Call the Brexit Import Export helpline if you require additional information: 0300 3301 331.

Data Protection and Consumer Rights +

Data protection 

If you are a UK business or organisation that already complies with the GDPR and has no contacts or customers in the EEA, you do not need to do much more to prepare for data protection compliance after Brexit. 

If you are a UK business or organisation that receives personal data from contacts in the EEA, you need to take extra steps to ensure that the data can continue to flow after Brexit. 

If you are a UK business or organisation with an office, branch or other established presence in the EEA, or if you have customers in the EEA, you will need to comply with both UK and EU data protection regulations after Brexit. You may need to designate a representative in the EEA. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has information on this which can be found here. 

Consumer Rights 

The government has taken steps to ensure that UK consumers will retain the protections they currently have when buying from UK businesses. This means making certain changes in UK legislation through the EU Withdrawal Act to ensure that the law operates effectively after exit. There may be an impact on the extent to which UK consumers are protected when buying goods and services from the EU. The laws of those states are similar but may differ in some areas to UK law. UK consumers will no longer be able to use the UK courts effectively to seek redress from EU-based traders, and if a UK court does make a judgement, the enforcement of that judgement will be more difficult. 

In addition, there will no longer be reciprocal obligations on the UK or EU member states to investigate breaches of consumer laws or take forward enforcement actions.  

Visiting the EU +

To travel to Europe after Brexit there are things you may need to do before you travel such as, checking your passport is valid for travel to Europe using the GOV.UK passport checker; get travel insurance that provides health cover in Europe; check you have the right driving documents and arrange pet travel with your vet at least 4 months before you travel. 

UK passport holders travelling to most European countries 

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, there will be changes to travel in the EU. British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to have six months remaining validity on their passport and must not have a passport that is over 10 years old. Check your passport to see if you need to renew earlier than planned. You can check the validity of your passport here. 

Travel Insurance 

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid after Brexit so you should make sure your travel insurance covers all your healthcare needs. When taking out a travel insurance policy you should check: 

  1. you have the right policy for your needs, not just the cheapest 
  1. the level of healthcare cover it includes 
  1. the travel disruption cover it provides 
  1. the terms and conditions 
  1. if it covers all destinations and activities 



Driving in the EU 

If you are driving your own vehicle or a hire vehicle in the EU, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a Motor Insurance Green Card to continue to drive. IDPs are available from the Post Office for £5.50. To obtain a Motor Insurance Green Card, contact your vehicle insurer one month prior to your trip. 


Pet travel to the EU after Brexit 

To make sure you can travel with your pet after Brexit, you should start to prepare at least four months before your travel date by visiting your vet for advice. Current EU pet passports issued in the UK will not be valid for entry to the EU. Pet owners need to complete the following steps before travel: 

  1. Get your pet microchipped 
  1. Ensure your pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date 
  1. Allow at least 30 days after your pet’s last rabies vaccination before returning to a vet for a blood test to check it’s worked 
  1. Wait three calendar months after a successful blood test before travel 
  1. Return to a vet within ten days of travel for an animal health certificate 

If your pet’s vaccinations are kept up to date you won’t need to repeat the blood test for each journey. 

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