• International Workplace
  • 6 December 2016

Nearly half of HR professionals don’t feel up-to-speed on changing legislation

New research from identity data intelligence specialists GBG has revealed a startling amount of HR professionals (41%) are struggling to keep up with ever-changing legislation.

The changes to UK law, such as those made to the Right To Work in the Immigration Act and Modern Day Slavery Act are met with anxiety by 34% of respondents. Only 26% feel prepared and just 4% feel optimistic that the changes will be advantageous for their organisation.

Despite half of HR professionals not feeling prepared to handle legislation changes, 62% believe it’s their primary responsibility. Almost one in five (18%) said it was their manager’s obligation and 9% believed the Board should be in charge of monitoring for change.

“Legislation changes are evidentially making HR professionals feel unprepared. We still don’t know what the full impact of Brexit will be, which will add further complexity to the situation,” said Mark Sugden, Sales and Business Development Director at GBG.

“HR professionals may have to report on the nationalities of every member of the workforce, and manage multiple country legislation requirements to ensure compliance. The Home Office is now targeting larger organisations with adherence audits and issuing civil penalties for employing someone without the right to work in the UK. The consequences post-Brexit should only reinforce what businesses should already be doing and highlight why the need to know your people is critical more so now, than ever before.”

Ongoing monitoring

Many respondents to the survey (41%) cited employment screening as their number one priority. However, when asked how often they ran employee checks, less than one in five (17%) ran multiple checks throughout the year. A fifth of respondents said they didn’t undertake any checking throughout the year, with 11% only running checks when an incident triggered the process.

Sugden added:

“The changing landscape around employment screening, legislation and requirements to monitor employees more stringently is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with. However, the consequences of not doing so opens a business up to employee fraud, reputational risk, reduced turnover and fines. Businesses need to recognise the importance of not just completing the Right To Work checks from a recruitment and on-boarding perspective, but also throughout their employment.”

“Last year saw employee fraud account for 32% of all reported cases of fraud in the UK, costing businesses more than £46m. The ongoing checking of staff to determine their honesty, integrity and financial soundness is not only critical to an organisation’s adherence to regulation, but also imperative to the security of a business’ IP and bottom line.”

Tar Tumber, HR specialist at International Workplace added:

“Employment legislation and keeping up to date with all the changes has become more difficult over recent years.  Before, we knew changes in employment law would normally come into effect twice a year – 6 April and 1 October; and it was much easier for both HR professionals and organisations to be prepared for those changes. Now, we have statute and legislative changes being implemented at different times throughout the year, not to mention the immediate impact that case law has on how staff must be managed.  This can be from within the UK or from Europe, and until we have successfully negotiated our Brexit from the EU, we will still be impacted by changes in EU HR legislation.  The uncertainty over freedom of movement and whether we will have a single market with the EU in the future focuses our attention more on ensuring our staff have the right to work in the UK, as the financial consequences of illegally employing someone are huge.

“Therefore, keeping updated with all these changes is increasingly difficult for HR professionals who are trying to keep their organisations operational and profitable.  This is where we can assist you – by ensuring you know what is important for your business to remain legal and best practice, and filtering the rest of the ‘info’ out for you.  Please contact our HR team for help and advice, on 0333 210 1995.”

This article was written by GBG and is reproduced with kind permission.