The UK Government has confirmed that businesses must continue with reporting obligations despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Key points to note are:
- More time to file your statement: If you are struggling to meet the reporting deadline, you can delay the release of your statement for up to 6 months and will not be penalised. The reasons for any delay must be COVID-19 related and be explained in your statement.
- Possible COVID 19 impact: Consider how changes in your operating model may lead to new or increased risks of labour exploitation, such as:
- changes in demand and availability of the labour or vulnerable workers could lead to them being exploited by third parties seeking to profit from heightened demand;
- engaging with suppliers or carrying out due diligence where this is a risk of exploitation (e.g. factories forcing reductions in wages);
- with education systems suspended, children will become more vulnerable to exploitation.
- Damage to reputation and brand: In the UK, some businesses have seen reputation and brand damage where they have not followed government COVID-19 advice or have not provided guarantees to worker wages.
- What should you put in your next statement? Demonstrate how you have monitored the risks during this period and adapted your activities and priorities in response.
The challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic may mean that some businesses will not be able to publish their statement within the usual timeframe