“Modern slavery is a brutal crime which knows no boundaries and does not discriminate on gender, age, creed, culture or race.”
Teresa May, Home Secretary – 16 December 2013
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 received Royal Assent and became law on 26th March 2015. Its introduction was ground-breaking as it was one of the few pieces of legislation that directly tackled slavery and trafficking. The Act was established to provide further protection and care for victims. The punishment for guilty parties is now more stringent. For example, the maximum sentence for severe perpetrators has increased from 14 years to life imprisonment. This legislation simplifies slavery acts by amalgamating them into the one Act. The Act provides protection for victims by providing them with fairer criminal justice procedures. Law enforcement such as the National Crime Agency and police will be given more authority to manage those guilty of slavery crimes. Organisations who do not comply risk attracting bad publicity.
The impact on employers
It is now compulsory for organisations with an annual turnover of £36m and whose financial year ended on 31st March 2016 to produce a modern slavery statement. The turnover is based on a global level not just the UK. The organisation will conduct either all or part of their business in the UK. The statement must outline the measures that the organisation has implemented to avoid slavery or human trafficking in their business and supply chains.
The government accepts that there will not be a ‘standard’ statement that will suit all companies and that they may vary greatly between organisations. The statement will generally include information such as the structure of the business, details of any supply chains and refer to company policies that have been introduced to prevent slavery. An organisation can also release a statement confirming that no steps have been taken. The statement needs to be published clearly on the company’s website and be ready within 30 days of a written request for it. The statement also needs to be signed by a Company director.
CBW’s HR Consultancy can help you
Not only can we work with you to produce a statement, we can draft relevant policies for your organisation to implement in order to prevent slavery and trafficking. The government recommends that details of staff training plans are included in the statement. Our team can train your staff on the topic and help them to spot any suspicious behaviour. Where employees may not have complied with relevant policies then our Consultants can help you to manage their alleged misconduct appropriately.
Sources: www.personneltoday.com, “Modern slavery statements duty comes into force”, Faragher, J. March 2016
“Modern Slavery Act – Knowledge Insight”. CIPS Knowledge 2015
“Anti-slavery statements may need HR involvement”. Ozanne, S. August 2015