Worker Protection Bill: What UK Employers Need to Know
The Worker Protection Bill Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill has now received Royal Assent and is due to come into force in 2024.
It brings some important changes to the rules about preventing sexual harassment at work marking a pivotal moment for the UK’s employment landscape.
Here’s a simple breakdown of what UK employers should know:
Main Changes to the Rules
A Bigger Role for Employers
Employers now have a proactive and preventative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees during work.
- Bigger Penalties for Not Following Rules
Employers who fail to take the necessary reasonable steps to safeguard their employees from sexual harassment now risk facing an uplift in compensation of up to 25%.
This provision has been included to motivate employers to tackle the issue of sexual harassment more proactively and effectively.
How Can Employers Get Ready?
1. Check and Update Your Rules
Thoroughly examine all existing policies related to harassment, bullying, and equal opportunity. These policies should be updated to encompass training on various harassment scenarios, with a specific focus on third-party harassment. They should also provide clear guidance on how to support victims and intervene when necessary.
2. Make Reporting Easy
Make sure your workers know how and where to report harassment. They should feel safe and confident doing this. It's crucial to have clear and accessible reporting mechanisms in place. This ensures that employees can confidently and safely report any instances of harassment they experience or witness.
3. Know the Risks
Every workplace is unique, and so are its associated risks. Employers should identify potential harassment risks that are specific to various roles and situations. Special attention should be given to roles that frequently interact with third parties or those which operate in isolated settings. Engage with employees or their representatives to gain insights on potential control measures.
4. Keep a Record
Employers should have a dedicated system or register for logging harassment incidents. This system should be in compliance with data protection standards and storage requirements.