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9/7/2015 12:49:56 PM

GLA – What you need to know, part two

This blog is a continuation of last month’s post, which outlined the Gangmasters Licensing Act, why it was set up, who runs it and which industries it regulates.

Who needs a GLA licence?

Anybody who supplies or uses workers in the agriculture and food-related industries (outlined in part one) needs a licence. This applies to all kinds of workers, whether they are permanent, temporary, volunteering or working through an agency. It also does not matter if the worker works directly for the employer or business or is self-employed. The licence covers work in the United Kingdom, even if the business is based abroad.

There are a few instances where a licence is not required. These are detailed on the GLA Exclusions page, but if you are not sure then you should contact the GLA.

Finer details about who needs a licence can be found in the guidance document on the GLA website.

What does the GLA mean for workers?

The GLA protects workers from exploitation and ensures that their employment meets certain legal standards.

These legal standards include matters involving pay and tax, accommodation, health and safety and working conditions, as well as the prevention of forced labour and mistreatment. If a worker feels that the standards are not being met, they should contact the GLA.

There is more advice for workers on the GLA website.

Employers’ responsibilities with the GLA

It is a legal requirement that labour providers in the regulated industries have a licence.

To apply for a licence, employers must show that they meet the conditions of the GLA licensing standards, which are legal requirements to protect the workers.

GLA licences are valid for one year. The GLA will contact employers six weeks before expiry and explain the renewal process. Employers have a responsibility to renew their licence when required.

How to apply for a licence

If your business is involved with the supply or use of workers in the regulated industries and you do not yet have a GLA licence, you must apply for one.

Applications can be done online or over the phone. Details for each of these options are on the GLA’s page on applying for a licence.

To apply, you will need business details such as your VAT registration number, turnover and unique tax reference number, as well as personal details for all directors and partners for the business.

Applications can take 6-8 weeks to process. There is a licensing fee which depends on the size of your business.

Failure to comply with GLA regulations

Operating as a gangmaster without a licence when one is required can result in a maximum penalty of ten years in prison, plus a fine. It is also illegal to use unlicensed gangmasters, with a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine.

- written by Alex Cruden


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