The Biggest Changes to Business Laws in 2017

Now that 2017 is drawing to a close it’s a good time to review the changes to business law the UK has dealt with in the past year and look ahead to the future so we’re ready for the year to come.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

It’s been much in the headlines this year, not least at the BBC, where its own news team found itself reporting that men working at the Corporation earned on average 9% more than their female colleagues.

Legislation is finally catching up with the times and businesses are now required to report to a government body on their pay processes. If you have more than 250 employees you should now be gathering the following information to publish both on your website and a central government page:

  • Average gender pay gap (both mean and median)
  • Gender bonus gap (to ensure pay is not safely uniform, but discretionary bonus schemes still rife with bias)
  • Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses
  • Proportion of men and women at each quartile of your business’ pay scale.

Pay is obviously a nuanced issue – relying not just on performance but also negotiating style and value to the business. That said, it may be wise to take steps to ensure your remunerations are equal between the genders, possibly taking steps to remove the influence of more aggressive negotiators, who tend to be male, as statistics revealing a bias could have some negative consequences, not merely in the law but in terms of damaging publicity as well.

Data Protection

One of the biggest incoming changes we can look forward to in 2018 is to Data Protection legislation. EU directives likely to be incorporated into UK law as part of the Brexit process are calling for much more stringent record keeping over when a person has opted to share their data.

The new directive is focussed on consent: all users have to clearly consent to having their data kept and shared. It cannot be inferred by their failing to untick a preticked box. They will have to give active consent, which as a business you must record to ensure you can produce proof when challenge.

You will also need to have more stringent deletion protocols in place: when someone withdraws their consent to have their kept, or receive emails for example, their data must be permanently deleted, not merely removed from a mailing list.

Compliance here is vital, so it may be worth hiring an Interim IT specialist to set up the systems that will ensure you can continue to work unimpeded.

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