Getting ready for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)

“Data Protection”
One of the major changes coming into effect next year will be the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), on 25 May 2018, which is likely to impact on your business whether it be in the way that you deal with employees, clients or suppliers.

The legislation allows for fines of up to 4% of your business’ global revenue or €20 million (whichever is greater) as well as potential regulatory or compliance issues, it is important to make sure you are aware of the changes being implemented. Whilst many businesses are seeing GDPR as a troublesome burden on the horizon, by being prepared at every step and seeking assistance early, it does not need to be a headache for you and your business.

Here are our top tips for getting ready for GDPR:

  1. Review what personal data you currently hold, as well as asking where it is held, how it is held and why you have that data. “Data” is information from which a person can be identified such as a name, ID number, location data or IP address. Therefore, contact details such as full name and email address for a specific contact could fall under this definition. You may also need to review your company’s access to the personal data held, as well as reviewing data security.
  2. Consent and how this is obtained, recorded and managed, should be reviewed. The person’s consent according to the Regulations needs to be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”. There needs to be clear affirmative action by the person agreeing to the processing of their data. The consent can be withdrawn at any time and needs to be as easy to withdraw it as it was to give the consent.
  3. Policies and procedures require immediate reviews across the board. This includes employment contracts/policies, terms and conditions, privacy policies, use of marketing databases (for such things as newsletters) and payroll procedures. Do you also need to review existing data processor agreements? If any of these need updating you should ensure that the new versions are compliant.
  4. Appraise which areas in the company are likely to cause the greatest risk.
  5. Roles and who will fulfil the roles of Data Processor and Data Protection Officer within your company need to be identified. Is there anyone within the company that would be considered as a Data Controller?
  6. Identify whether the basis for processing the data you currently hold is for a specified, explicit and lawful purpose. Do you need to review and refresh the consents that have already been given in respect of the data you hold?
  7. Awareness, being the extent to which your employees, workers, agents, are aware of GDPR, should be considered. Given the wide scope of “data” and “data processing”, and the potential consequences on the company, it is likely that most of your staff should be fully aware of the regulations and their impact. Do you need internal training to ensure compliance?
  8. Breaches need procedures for avoidance and rectification. For example, consider procedures for data breaches, which can range from an email being sent to the wrong person or a laptop or papers being left on public transport. There needs to be a system in place, which is compliant with GDPR, that not only limits this happening but also sets out what needs to be done if a breach takes place.
  9. Reduce the data you hold, where possible. This will make compliance with the GDPR easier and should be done before the regulations come into effect. GDPR will apply to “data processing” which includes not only the use or disclosure by transmission of data but also the storage and destruction of data.
  10. Transparency is key. Ensure that there will be transparency in terms of consent and procedures.

We will be publishing further blogs on GDPR and the impact on your company but if you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Rashmi Dubé or Mara Gosling on +44 207 873 2279 / +44 113 302 1330 or rashmi@legatuslaw.com

Exit Strategies: why you need to plan for the end from the beginning

The planning for your exit from your company should start from day one. Yes, this may be a long-term plan and seem a long, long way in the future – but if you don’t plan you won’t know how to run the business. Building the business and working in it – having a clear strategy and realistic action plan can make this process easier for all.

What do you want from the business?

  • Do you want to be a millionaire? Do you want a specific lifestyle, or is the business a short-term goal with a possibility of high yield upon sale?
  • Your start-up reason will affect what you can do with the business in the long-term. A business that gives you a regular wage and great lifestyle might not be something you can sell as a going concern. Whereas a business that demands attention from you day and night for five years may be the one you can sell for a million.
  • Build a brand.
  • Build a team, management structure and ensure that the customer or client is not just buying you. Ensure key employees stay with the business. HR and employment issues must be in place.
  • Ensure that your business has high growth
  • Set up processes and document management systems
  • Ensure you are aware of your supply chain and all contracts are in place
  • Financials must be up to date. Accounts and company records. Know your financials. A ‘Dragon Dens comment, but you must know them.
  • Ensure inventory if relevant is updated.

Options available:

Selling the business

1. The most popular exit strategy is to sell the business:

  • either selling your share to existing management
  • or seeking a new owner for your business. This can take a variety of forms. What is important is does it work for you?

2. Leaving it to family members

  • This must be consider very carefully and is not without pitfalls in itself.
  • How much of the business do I want to transfer now?
  • Type of shares, whether voting or non-voting.
  • What type of transfer structure?

Tax planning

This is very important to consider at all stages. In respect of the above always seek specialist legal and tax advice.

Above all plans are only a guidance of direction you want to take and the actual journey can be so much more fluid. Always explore all avenues.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Pablo Picasso

By Rashmi Dubé

More information email: hello@legatuslaw.com

Employment Tribunal Award Increase

Tribunal compensation limits will increase on 6 April 2017 under the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2017 (SI 2017/175). The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £78,962 to £80,541. The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, also rises from £479 to £489.

How to avoid employment disputes this party season

As seen on the Business Link website:

Once again the Christmas season is upon us and with it come all manner of festive clichés, and none are as hotly anticipated as the Christmas Party.

No one wants to be a Scrooge, but every employer should beware as the festivities bring a number of employment law issues, which require a degree of preparation.

Whilst most enjoy a good bash at Christmas, employers should be aware of potential risks arising from such events, such as sexual harassment, alcohol-induced unacceptable behaviour and religious discrimination. Sarah Turner, Head of Employment Law at Leeds-based Legatus Law, looks at the ways to enjoy the Christmas bash while avoiding any kind of dispute.

Behaviour

The office party is still a work-related event and consequently it is an extension of the workplace. Therefore it is advisable to set the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in advance, whilst acknowledging that employees will want to let their hair down. Such a policy is a valuable precaution to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable action to protect staff.

Clear written guidance should be given in the form of a policy of acceptable standards of behaviour at work-related social events. It should be made clear that excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, fighting, inappropriate behaviour and remarks relating to sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion will not be tolerated and that disciplinary proceedings and sanctions will be pursued if any of these rules are breached. You should be prepared to deal with any allegations seriously, promptly and in line with your company’s policies and procedures.

You should consider the amount of free alcohol provided. In one tribunal case, a dismissal for fighting at a Christmas party was found to be unfair and the employment tribunal held that the fact that the employer had provided a free bar was an indication that the behaviour was condoned. When providing free alcohol, you should also provide water and food.

Inclusiveness

To make the event as inclusive as possible, and to avoid any risk of any employee feeling excluded, you should ensure that all religions are catered for in terms of food and soft drinks. You should also ensure that the invitation to attend is extended to all employees, including those on family-related leave (maternity, shared parental, and adoption leave etc) or long-term sickness absence. However you should not insist that all employees attend the party and should accept that employees may have other responsibilities outside of work hours and should be aware that employees of non-Christian faiths may feel uncomfortable attending a Christmas party.
Entertainment

Speakers and entertainers should be briefed in advance to ensure that no offence is caused. You may be liable for the actions of third parties who cause offence at such events.

Post-party absence

Any policy should be clear on attendance requirements in the office the following day.

A gentle email reminder to all staff before the Christmas party of your company’s policies and procedures and expected standard of behaviour may go a long way to preventing an extended hangover for your business, as a consequence of issues arising out of the seasonal festivities.

By implementing these simple tips you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself this festive season.

Do you have a Trump card?

There are many factors that affect small and medium-sized businesses (“SME”), not only the economic climate but the political one too. Given recent events – the UK deciding to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the next US president – trade relations and costs of manufacturing and production are bound to be affected. The SME will inevitably be hit by these political changes.

But when there is so much uncertainty about exactly what the impact of these events will be and when they might be felt, what can SMEs do now to protect themselves and ensure they are in the best possible shape to steer a steady course through these turbulent waters?

Here are eight things to consider and review in your business today:

  1. Terms and conditions – do you have these in place with your clients/customers? Do they actually cover what services/products you provide? Have they been tailored to your company? The important things to review are: payment terms, delivery of service or product, warranties if applicable and, in technology, when the product is deemed to have been delivered and protection of your intellectual property.
  2. Contracts with suppliers – when was the last time this was reviewed? Check your credit limits and see if you can negotiate different terms.
  3. Personal guarantees – have you or any other directors provided these? If so, what is the exposure and liability?
  4. Shareholders agreements – do you have these in place? You may think you don’t need these but an issue may arise if there is a grievance from a shareholder or issues surrounding payment to shareholders.
  5. Partnership agreements – these should be reviewed.
  6. Memorandum and articles – check whether yours are standard ones or have been adapted. They may need to change.
  7. Employment contracts – are all your contracts, procedures and manuals up to date?
  8. Recovery of your monies – when was the last time you reviewed your book debts. Don’t allow late payments to become an issue.

If you need help getting your business in shape today so that it’s ready for whatever happens tomorrow, call Rashmi Dubé Legatus Law now on 0044 (0) 113 302 1330 or 0044 (0)207 8732279.

How to tackle networking as a new business owner

Managing director at law firm Legatus Law, Rashmi Dubé, provides her networking tips for new business owners struggling to widen their web of contacts.

At some point business we are going to be tasked with going networking. Be it at our boss’s request, or as an objective we set ourselves as part of our own remit as a business owner.

“Why must we do it?” you may ask, especially if the thought of it fills you with dread. Well, it is to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships to help you, and your business succeed.

Don’t think of it as networking

It’s all about how you perceive networking, and if you change how you view it you can change how you feel about it.

Networking is not about selling. It is about building up valuable relationships. You may have reasons for networking – be that selling something, getting a new job or client, but if you are going to network well you need to establish it is not all about sales and it is not speed dating for business owners.

It is easy to make excuses not to network too – “I’m too busy” or I’ve got so much work to do already” are often good ones.

These shouldn’t be excuses, as I believe you always have time for personal development and remember that networking is key in building relationships, devolving skills and increasing your credibility. There really are no excuses.

You decide to jump in, but where do you start?

A good way in to networking is internally through your business’s structure. but if you’re a small business owner this may not be an option for you.

How about others in your industry? Are there any social events going on? Or anyone you would like to be your mentor, or just want to get to know better? Just ask them for a coffee and a chat. This is an easy and informal way to get to know them and you will already have loads in common so will not be stuck for conversation.

If you are a freelancer or work in a very small team, you need to work out who you would like to connect with. A useful place to start is by reaching out to groups of like-minded people you want to get to know.

For example, if you were a writer you could get in touch with publishers, journalists and broadcasters. Find a place or organisation where these people meet and go along, or create your own event.

If you are struggling to find networking events, ask your friends and colleagues what events they have been to that they’ve liked. One example could be breakfast networking mornings, where business owners come together to collaborate on ideas, discuss business and help each other out.

This is a great way to make new contacts and also a space where you can practice skills such as mingling and public speaking, as they often have slots for you to address the group with a bit about yourself and your business.

Once you’ve made first contact, what’s next?

The most important part of networking is the follow up. Make sure to note down the names of the people you meet as soon as you can, as it is all too easy to make a great contact, and then when you go to search for them on LinkedIn you have no idea what their name was.

Invite them on LinkedIn soon after the event, be sure to adapt the invite to each person and remind them of where you met each other.

After they have accepted your connection, it’s time for the essential follow up, you could have plenty of connections but if you don’t follow up with conversation they will not form into relationships.

Try to think what strengths you have to bring to the table, what useful skills or attributes can you share? What I’ve found is that most of the time when I meet people they want to help me too – because it is the right thing to do.

Still not convinced?

If the prospect of talking to a room full of like-minded individuals all wanting to help each other still frightens you, think of it this way – would you be nervous to start a conversation on the bus, ask someone for a hand at the gym or introduce yourself to someone at a party? These are all types of networking, and when you think of it like that it becomes a lot easier.

Rashmi Dubé is managing director at Legatus Law and author of ‘Making a Splash, A Personal Guide to Networking’

Congratulations on Forward Ladies Award!

Congratulations go to Rashmi Dube who was recently given a highly commended award on 14th October 2016 in the Yorkshire, North East and Scotland regional final held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle.

Increase to National Minimum Wage

Following the introduction of the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour in April 2016 for those aged 25 years and over, this month it is the turn of the young workers. From 1 October 2016:

  • the rate for 21 to 24 year olds will increase by 25p to £6.95 per hour
  • the rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase by 25p to £5.55 per hour
  • the rate for 16 to 17 year olds will increase by 13p to £4 per hour
  • the apprentice rate will increase by 10p to £3.40 per hour

For more information, please email Sarah@legatuslaw.com or call 0113 302 1330 or 0207 873 2279

Making A Splash, Networking & Book Signing with Rashmi Dubé

Waterstones, Covent Garden, 9-13 Garrick Street, London, WC2E 9AU
Thursday 15th September 18:00
Book by emailing hello@legatuslaw.com

Read the report on Yorkshire Legal News.

Join award-winning entrepreneur Rashmi Dubé as she launches her debut book, designed to support individuals interested in creating valuable relationships, be it at work or as a business owner.

A truly engaging and dynamic speaker, join Rashmi as she brings her bubbly personality to the floor to:

  • Talk you through her top networking tips
  • Tell her story of a shy young girl turning into an award winning entrepreneur
  • Read excerpts from Making A Splash
  • Answer questions
  • Learn to Make a Splash