Brexit and employment rights: Key questions answered
- What is the current status of negotiations?
A draft agreement on the UK’s departure from the EU, along with a political declaration on the future EU-UK relationship, was endorsed by the EU27 on 25 November 2018, but has yet to be ratified by the UK. The UK Parliament is scheduled to vote on the draft agreement in the week of 14 January 2019. The below guidance is subject to the caveat that these documents have yet to be fully ratified.
- What are the key dates in the Brexit process?
- 21-22 March 2019 – The last European Council with UK participation
- 29 March 2019 – The date on which the UK is scheduled to withdraw from the EU
- Can Brexit be delayed or cancelled?
Yes, an extension to the Brexit process is possible, but would require the unanimous support of all the remaining EU Member States. The European Parliament elections in May complicate matters, as the UK would be required to field candidates if they had not yet left the EU. The UK can also cancel Brexit by withdrawing its Article 50 request (i.e. the request to leave the EU) and maintain its EU membership on its current terms.
- Will there be a transition period?
As part of the withdrawal agreement, a ‘status quo’ transition period up to 31 December 2020 has been agreed to facilitate an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The draft agreement provides for a single extension of the transition period, potentially until the end of 2022. Any decision to extend the transition period must be taken before 1 July 2020. Save for certain exceptions, EU law will generally be applicable to and in the UK during the transition period.
- How will the withdrawal agreement affect the processing of personal of data?
EU law relating to the processing of personal data will apply in the UK in respect of any processing of personal data of individuals entitled to the protection of EU law, where the data (a) was processed under EU law in the UK before the end of the transition period or (b) is processed in the UK after the end of the transition period on the basis of the draft agreement. This is unless an adequacy decision (as has been made for third countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland in the past) is made by the EU Commission with respect to the protection of personal data in the UK.
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