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In October 2015, a new provision arising under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 comes into effect and applies to commercial organisations that carry on business or part of their business in the United Kingdom with a turnover of £36 million or more.
It is important to note that turnover is determined on the basis of worldwide turnover and not UK turnover alone.
An organisation will need to publish either (i) a statement of what steps it has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in any of its supply chain or any part of its business or (ii) a statement that it has taken no such steps.
The onus on an organisation therefore appears high. To comply with the first requirement noted above, an organisation should consider conducting audits on all of its supply chains, along with all parts of its business, and if a statement is made that no such assessing steps have been taken, the question will likely be, why not? The potential ramifications are significant for an organisation that confirms it has not taken steps to ensure that slavery and human trafficking have been monitored.
The statement cannot be hidden and must be published on the organisation's website, including on its home page.
The key essentials to incorporate in the statement include the following:
Mandatory publishing of an annual statement will need to be documented with evidence of steps taken before any such statement can be made. Commercial organisations that do not comply with this requirement are subject to civil proceedings by the Secretary of State to compel them to comply.
What This Means for Employers
Elena Cooper is an attorney in the London office of Duane Morris. Republished with permission. © 2015 Duane Morris. All rights reserved.
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