On Thursday March 26th, the Modern Slavery Bill received Royal Assent in parliament to become the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The Modern Slavery Act consolidates the current legislation relating to trafficking and slavery.
It contains a specific supply chains clause requiring businesses over a yet to be determined size threshold to report annually on the action they have taken to ensure there is no modern slavery in their business or supply chain.
The government said it was fitting for the Bill to be passed on the United Nations day of remembrance for victims of slavery.
The Supply Chains requirement applies to:
A slavery and human trafficking statement must be approved by the board of directors (or equivalent management body) and signed by a director (or equivalent) - as the government has said, “This will ensure that those at the top level take this issue seriously and understand the implications of taking little or no action.”
The government is currently consulting on the threshold for disclosure - only companies over a certain revenue threshold will need to report, and guidance for exactly what should go into an annual Modern Slavery statement. Likely requirements include:
To give time for the consultation to complete (it closes on May 7, 2015), the supply chains clause is not due to commence until October 2015.
To learn more about the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the consultation, and the requirements for companies, download our quick reference guide.
Please get in touch with any questions on how the act might affect your business, or sign-up to our newsletter above.