Is the GLAA the correct enforcement body for you?
We are here to stop the exploitation of workers in the UK and to ensure employers treat them fairly.
This includes preventing worker exploitation through licensing and educational activities and pursing those who exploit workers through our enforcement activity.
It is important to note that we are not an advice line. For work related advice, please contact Acas.
We receive information from our inspections, the public, industry and other government departments. We investigate reports of:
- Breaches to our licensing standards in the agricultural, food processing and packaging and shellfish sectors
- Operating without a GLAA licence in the above sectors
- Labour abuse, specifically where that abuse is related to forced and compulsory labour across all sectors in England and Wales.
For information about our regulatory function please see our What we do page.
Dealing with worker exploitation outside of the GLAA regulated sectors
We investigate labour abuse in England and Wales where there are indicators of forced and compulsory labour, as outlined in our spotting the signs information. The way in which we operate and the partners we work with vary slightly in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Visit our Northern Ireland page and our Scotland page to find out more.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines forced and compulsory labour as: "All work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.”
In terms of establishing if someone is under forced conditions, you should consider:
- What is the method of coercion?
- Is it a threat?
- Is it through isolation and control of vulnerable people? (e.g. controlling a victim's travel and ID documents)
- What is the threat?
- Physical violence against them or others?
- Revoking visa sponsorship?
- Loss of job?
- Withholding wages?
Not all of these are the same degree of coercion.
Examples of cases that we cannot readily act upon would be workers who look unhappy and have a lack of PPE. In this instance, this is an issue that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are more suited to investigate. If after investigation there is evidence of forced and compulsory labour found, the HSE can refer back to us.
Similarly, if on initial review the case looks like labour abuse, but later turns out to be non-payment of National Minimum Wage (NMW), we would send this to the NMW team to review.
Where allegations fall outside of our remit, they are referred to the appropriate agency, such as HSE or NMW. We work closely with our partner agencies to ensure that your report reaches the most appropriate agency to properly investigate your allegation. We often investigate allegations jointly with these other agencies to maximise the response.
It is also important to note the difference between labour abuse and exploitation, and other forms of exploitation such as sexual exploitation and criminal exploitation, which are dealt with by the Police and do not fall within GLAA remit.
Below is a flow chart to help with knowing where to report. An accessible format is below.
Who should I contact?
Does your issue relate to the GLAA regulated sector?
- Yes go to question 2
- No go to question 3
- Unsure? Go to 4
- Do you want to apply for a licence?
- Yes go to the Apply for a licence page
- No go to question 5
- Are there immediate safeguarding concerns?
- Yes contact the police – dial 999
- No go to question 6
- If unsure contact email@example.com
- Do you want to tell us information about a licence or unlicensed business/person?
- Yes, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- No contact our Licensing team for other licensing queries – email@example.com
- Does your issue relate to forced or compulsory labour?
- Yes, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- If your issue relates to the National Minimum Wage contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline: 0300 123 1100
- If your issue concerns lack of Personal Protective Equipment or unsafe working conditions contact the Health & Safety Executive
- If your issue relates to poor housing/accommodation, contact your local council
- For any other work based issue contact Acas