The UK will leave the EU at the end of March 2019, but any EU law that comes into force before we leave will continue to apply, even when the Brexit process is complete. The General Data Protection Regulation, for example, comes into force in May next year and will certainly apply in the UK.
Missing the Boat
One initiative that might not make it, however, is a revision of the directive on written statements of employment. The obligation to provide a written statement of terms and conditions goes back to the 1960s in the UK – but was given an EU underpinning in 1991. The EU Commission is now consulting trade unions and employers’ organisations with a view to updating the directive. Some of the changes being mooted include extending the duty to provide a written statement to all types of workers – not just employees – and even giving workers a right to a predictable working pattern!
An Eye on the Future
Whether any new directive can be finalised ahead of Brexit remains to be seen. EU measures can sometimes be debated and amended for years before they are finally adopted. What’s more, directives usually give member states two years to implement their requirements, so it is possible that the directive could have been adopted by the time of Brexit, but will not actually be in force. It is not currently clear whether that means that it will, or will not, apply in the UK. Perhaps this is not the biggest issue affecting the Brexit process, but it is one worth keeping an eye on.