Modern Slavery: what 2023 legislation updates might mean for you

Modern Slavery: what 2023 legislation updates might mean for you

Even though you may not meet the criteria set out in the Modern Slavery Act (MSA), particularly in terms of turnover, you can still voluntarily produce a modern slavery and human trafficking statement. This can provide some comfort for customers and government guidance encourages all business to submit a statement.

Below we list the upcoming changes to Modern Slavery coming this year and what these changes might mean for your business.

Current Regime: Modern Slavery Act (MSA) 2015

Under the MSA 2015, a commercial organisation must publish a modern slavery and human trafficking statement for a financial year if all of the following apply:

  • It is a body corporate or a partnership, wherever incorporated or formed.
  • It carries on a business, or part of a business, in the UK.
  • It supplies goods or services.
  • It has an annual turnover of £36 million or more (after relevant tax and discount deductions). This annual turnover figure is global turnover and not just turnover in the UK. It also captures turnover of both a parent and its subsidiaries.

It is irrelevant if the commercial organisation is set up for charitable purposes, educational aims or public functions. If it meets the above criteria in any particular financial year then it must prepare a statement setting out how it is tackling modern slavery and human trafficking.

Equally, if they meet the above criteria then both a franchisor and its franchisees may be required to make slavery and human trafficking statements 

Changes to Modern Slavery coming in 2023

The Queen’s Speech 2022 proposed amendments to the MSA 2015 via a Modern Slavery Bill, which may proceed through Parliament in 2023 and will potentially mandate the contents of modern slavery and human trafficking statements, require them to be published on a public registry, and also introduce civil penalties for non-compliance. 

What the Modern Slavery changes might mean for you

The relevant government guidance encourages all businesses to be transparent about policies and procedures that might relate to modern slavery and human trafficking, including recruitment policies and practices and to take steps in tackling modern slavery consistent with sector, size and operational reach. At a minimum, these voluntary statements may provide comfort to customers.

Furthermore, large organisations that do meet the MSA criteria may ask smaller organisations for their statement or policy on tackling modern slavery and human trafficking, particularly where those smaller organisations are looking to secure contracts with those larger businesses.

If you would like to discuss the MSA and how it might apply to or impact your organisation, please contact one of our team. Call us on 0800 689 1700 or fill out the short form below and a member of the team will be in contact.

About our expert

Adam Kudryl

Adam Kudryl

Chief Legal Officer & Head of Corporate
Having qualified as a solicitor in 2003, Adam has over 20 years' experience in advising businesses on their growth and exit strategies. Adam joined Harper James as a Partner in 2018 and became Head of Corporate in 2022. As of April 2024, Adam’s new role is Chief Legal Officer & Head of Corporate. In this role, he is responsible for the legal services aspects of Harper James and for defining the firm’s strategic vision and objectives to achieve our long-term goals, together with our CEO, Toby Harper, and the other senior leaders.

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