Australian Border Force has released an online information sheet for reporting entities under the Modern Slavery Act about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sheet provides guidance for organisations and businesses impacted by COVID-19 about how to report under the Modern Slavery Act, including how to address the impact of COVID-19 in a modern slavery statement.
This includes, for example, where entities are unable to undertake planned activities to address modern slavery risks, have limited capacity to prepare statements (including due to staffing changes), or have experienced significant changes to their supply chains.
It also includes a hypothetical case study which sets out how a reporting entity impacted by COVID- 19 may choose to explain these impacts in its modern slavery statement.
While the information sheet will be of most relevance to entities who are required to publish a Modern Slavery Statement (e.g. entities with a consolidated revenue of at least $100 million over its twelve month reporting period), it may also be useful for businesses who do not meet the threshold but anticipate they are likely to be asked questions by those further up the supply chain.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is also engaging with
government to advocate for flexibility in respect of the reporting deadline for the Modern Slavery Statement (currently due no later than 31 December, 2020 for entities with a financial year ending June 30) to provide some relief in light of the impact of COVID-19.
Click here to see the online information sheet.