[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has recently warned in a report that both British and migrant workers are at risk of exploitation on UK construction sites. While the organisation is urging contractors to assess the risks of human rights violations within their operations, what are the legal impacts of becoming involved in modern day slavery for a business?
The National Crime Agency has previously found that construction is one of the most common sectors to find modern slavery in the UK. The sector’s overall response to modern slavery has been criticised, with business models being blamed for unethical practices. For example, poor transparency within supply chain standards means that many businesses don’t meet minimum legal requirements when it comes to reporting or major firms within the industry pushing responsibility onto suppliers, even though they typically have access to fewer resources.
In 2015, the UK government passed the Modern Slavery Act, the first piece of legislation in the country designed specifically to tackle the issue and provide protection for victims. The legislation is slowly being added to but for the moment it only relates to large companies. Businesses that have a global turnover of £36 million or more are required to produce and publish an annual slavery and trafficking statement on their website, which sets out the steps they’ve taken to remove modern slavery from across the whole of its supply chain.
Businesses that fall under the Modern Slavery Act could find that they receive a high court injunction and an unlimited fine if they fail to comply. The Home Office has also made it clear that businesses are expected to evolve in how they fight against modern slavery and provide protection against such human rights violations each year.
For construction companies that fall under the Modern Slavery Act failing to comply with the basics has the potential to cause significant financial and reputational damage, which could ruin a business. Of course, even businesses that turnover less than £36 million can be affected if they’re found to be failing to adhere to right to work procedures when directly hiring new employees and damage to reputation can still occur.
Are you worried about the legal issues of modern slavery within the construction sector or another industry? You can speak to one of our professional, friendly advisors to better understand your obligations, steps you should be taking, and how to minimise the risks.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]