by Ellen Parkin – www.spirehr.co.uk
THE Modern Slavery Act is an act of Parliament that came into force on 29 October 2015 with new requirements for businesses to report on slavery and human trafficking.
Any organisation in any part of a group structure will be required to comply with the provision and produce a statement if it:
• Is a body corporate or a partnership, wherever incorporated
• Carries on a business, or part of a business, in the UK
• Supplies goods or services
• Has an annual turnover of £36m or more
If your company is covered by the legislation, you must produce an annual statement setting out the steps you have taken to ensure there is no slavery in your business and supply chains. If you have not taken any steps, you must say so.
The statement must be published on your company website with a link in a prominent place on the homepage. If you do not have a website, then a copy must be provided, on request, within 30 days. This has to be published each year, within 6 months of your company’s financial year-end.
The Government guidance is quite clear on what will happen if your company does not comply:
“If a business fails to produce a slavery and human trafficking statement for a particular financial year the Secretary of State may seek an injunction through the High Court… requiring the company to comply. If the company fails to comply with the injunction, they will be in contempt of a court order, which is punishable by an unlimited fine.”
Aside from legal penalties, failing to comply could cause reputational damage to your company. It is important to bear in mind that the Government is not simply asking companies to produce statements but is actively looking to increase transparency on human rights issues in the hope that greater peer and consumer pressure will drive improvements in this area.
If you would like further advice on this matter to ensure your company is compliant then please get in touch with us today on 01925 626253 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org – we would be happy to help!