16 August, 2021
This month the ICO has announced that it has opened its public consultation for the revised version of its Employment Practices Code ('the Code').
The existing version of the Employment Practices Code was published in November 2011 and so pre-dates the introduction of the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. Whilst there may be some subtle differences between the Code and guidance reflecting the new law, the Code was still useful for those collecting and handling employee information.
Whilst there may be subtle differences between the old law and the new data protection framework in the UK, what is considerably different is the way in which employee information is now processed, compared to November 2011 when the Code was first published. Artificial intelligence and automated processes are impacting the ways decisions are made about employees, employee monitoring is much more common and the Covid-19 pandemic led to huge growth in remote working and the need to collect much more health data from employees. This means that the Code now needs to be updated to provide practical guidance to employers about how to comply with data protection law in an employment context.
The ICO's public consultation is looking for responses and suggestions from employers of all sizes to help us to create practical employment guidance. A link to the public consultation can be found here - ICO call for views on employment practices | ICO
The ICO has stated that the new employment practices and data protection guidance will cover topics including recruitment and selection, employment records, monitoring of workers, and information about workers' health.
This new guidance will be useful for RPs who collect and hold a large amount of employee information. Since the introduction of the UK GDPR, we have seen a marked increase in complaints our clients receive from employees about their data protection practices. The new Code will provide welcome guidance to RPs, particularly when introducing new technologies and ensuring compliance with data protection law whilst staff are working remotely.
For more information contact Bethany Paliga in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01254 222347. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.