With parliamentary votes being held regularly at the moment, it still remains a possibility that the UK may leave the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019.
If that should happen, numerous arrangements on which employers and their staff have relied for many years will cease to be operative.
In this context, the Government has published its latest advice for people travelling to countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) — that is the other 27 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — or to Switzerland if no agreement on a deal is reached before the above date.
Employers will want to remind staff that, if they intend to use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), they must check what the arrangement is with the specific country they are visiting as the card may not be valid.
Full details can be found at https://bit.ly/2Th4R01.
UK nationals are advised to follow current advice from the Government which recommends travellers to take out separate travel insurance to cover any healthcare requirements needed in any country within the EU or outside.
This is particularly advisable for those with a pre-existing or long-term health condition.
UK nationals working on a longer-term basis in the EEA are advised to register for access to healthcare in the country they live in, as they may need to be a long-term resident or to pay social security contributions to access free or discounted healthcare.
“Until further agreements are reached between the UK and individual EU Member States,” the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said, “the Government advises UK citizens to follow this latest guidance to ensure they are fully prepared for any unexpected healthcare requirements overseas”.
Comment by Croner Associate Director Paul Holcroft
Brexit seems to have untold implications for employers which makes the prolonged process of ”deal or no deal” very difficult to navigate.
Sending employees abroad is yet another example of uncertainty and employers may be faced with resistance from employees who must travel abroad as part of their role where the uncertainty may have an effect on their health insurance, as is the case here.
Employers have to look after the health and safety of their staff when they are undertaking their role and should make sure they are up to date with the circumstances as they are in the specific country.
Last reviewed 11 February 2019