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Brexit: How will it affect the cleaning industry?

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It has been over a year since the UK voted to leave the EU and with Teresa May’s hard stance of “Brexit means Brexit”, the negotiations are now in full swing as her party attempts to get the best deal for us. 

Leaving the UK will have its advantages and disadvantages, and the future remains uncertain, so you might be left wondering what affect Brexit will have on the cleaning industry, especially if you own a cleaning business that employs workers from overseas. 


Immigration is still a hot topic of conversation and there has been a lot of debate over this issue.  The leave campaign claimed that immigration was getting out of control, and the remain campaign claimed that staying in the EU is in fact good for the economy and British businesses.  But now we have voted to leave the EU, what does that mean for the cleaning industry?

Three in four migrants from Eastern Europe are doing low-skilled jobs in the UK, as per statistics by ONS.  It has been argued that the Eastern Europeans are “coming over to our country and taking our jobs away”.  But the flip-side of that argument is that people living in the UK don’t want those types of jobs anyway.  It is a fact that the British economy is strengthened by EU migrants; there are around 1.4 million Eastern Europeans living in the UK and 80% of them are employed.   So, it is a concern that the cleaning industry could be effected by lack of staff, when the borders are closed. 

Changes in the Law

The leave campaign argued that the UK is hindered by restrictive EU laws, and that we should be the masters of our own destiny by ruling our lands and creating our own laws.  The remain campaign, however, argued that Brexit could see the introduction of a British Bill of Rights that will replace the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The EU are also responsible for implementing the Working Time Regulations which limits the number of hours a person can work in a week.  It also gives workers the right to paid holiday, daily rest periods, along with other benefits such as part-time and full-time workers being treated the same, working parents being allowed time off to look after their children, maternity rights, and employers are not allowed to discriminating against their employees on the grounds of disability, age, sex, religion or belief.  With Brexit negotiations taking place, this means that the government will be able to fine-tune these laws. 

The cleaning industry is a private sector niche, so it is most likely to be effected by how business leaders deal with the changes to employment law.  The advice from the CIPD is that if you have workers from the EU then you must keep up-to-date on any changes in the law or workers’ rights.


The Bank of England’s Mark Carney estimates that “households could defer consumption and firms delay investment, lowering labour demands and causing unemployment to rise”.  This is all too reminiscent of the recession in 2008, where we saw property prices crash and unemployment rise.  The value of the pound weakened drastically and people really had to tightened their purse strings.  If this were to happen when we leave the EU this could have a negative impact on the cleaning industry, as people tighten their budget and axe luxuries like hiring a weekly cleaner.

One thing is for sure – the future may seem uncertain and it is impossible to predict what is going to happen, but this is our chance to get it right!