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‘Modern slavery’ warning from employment expert

Business owners are being warned of their responsibilities under the new Modern Slavery Act as a key deadline approaches.

The act came into force in 2015, and brings up-to-date a number of trafficking and slavery laws designed to tackle the issue in the UK.

Among the key responsibilities, large UK companies are required to publish evidence online that they are not connected to international slavery through their supply chains.

Those businesses with an annual turnover above the £36million threshold are expected to publish an annual statement, confirming the action taken to prevent trafficking and slavery which has taken place in the business or supply chain.

The first organisations due to publish their ‘Slavery and Human Trafficking Statements’ are those with a financial year ending on March 31 this year.

Now an employment law expert is warning businesses to ensure they comply with these regulations.

Louise Myers, solicitor in the Employment & HR team at North West law firm Napthens, explained: “These businesses will need to publish their statements as soon as they can after the end of their financial year.

“Complying can be a significant responsibility for businesses which are affected by these new rules, and the guidelines for the Act encourage the necessary statements to be produced within six months of the financial year end.

“The statement must include details such as the organisation’s structure, business and supply chains, slavery and human trafficking policies and the steps taken to manage risk.

“Any businesses which could be affected should contact their solicitor for advice on complying.”