It has been a year and a half since the launch of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. In that period, several hundred cases have been brought to light; consequently, the government is now introducing further measures, which businesses earning over £36million will need to comply with.
The UK Modern Slavery Act came into force in March 2015 and was designed to tackle slavery and trafficking in the UK. With the act now well established, over 289 cases have been revealed. Consequently, in July 2016, Theresa May injected a further £33million into the act in order to tackle further cases and implement a “radical new comprehensive approach to defeating this vile crime”. Furthermore, the government will be scrutinising the hospitality and food services sectors as they have some of the highest rates of modern slavery and illegal workers.
As of this month, the Transparency in Supply Chain Provisions clause is now enforceable. The section states that companies who supply goods and services with an annual turnover of £36million will be expected to report on their plans to stamp out slavery. The government require that every business should therefore produce a report known as a ‘Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement’, outlining what the company is doing and the steps that have been actively taken during the financial year to ensure that modern slavery is non-existent in their supply chain or in the organisation.
The new clause is enforceable from October 2016. However, the government has given businesses some leeway and the opportunity to adapt to the new changes. This means that businesses with a March year end will be the first affected and their report will need to be submitted by the 31st October 2016. Franchises will, however, be excluded from the act unless the franchisee claims an annual turnover of over £36million and reports as a separate entity.
It is important that businesses are aware of the new clause as those who fail to comply could potentially face a court injunction, which will follow with an unlimited fine. Furthermore, those who state they were unaware will still face punitive measures as the act states that businesses ‘ought to have known’. The government is determined to seize malpractice in the workplace and will not be taken lightly.
Ensuring that you are financially compliant with the law should always be a priority. For businesses who would like further information on their financial responsibilities, please read more on our all things tax page or contact Adam Moody directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.