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Data protection

Susie Munro

Editor's message: Data protection and compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continues to be an important item on the HR agenda.

The GDPR places emphasis on accountability and being able to demonstrate that you have the procedures in place to protect your employees’ personal data rights. Even relatively small organisations will process a large amount of employee data, so you will need to ensure that time and resources are invested in data protection.

Compliance with the GDPR is not affected by Brexit. As an EU regulation, the GDPR continues to apply in the UK during the Brexit transition period and will be incorporated into UK law when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. In any event, being able to demonstrate high data protection standards will be essential for British organisations wanting to continue to do business with the EU in the future.

Some of the key areas of data protection that HR needs to be on top of include:

  • providing your employees and other data subjects with privacy notices, setting out specified information about how you will use the information you gather on them;
  • ensuring that you have the right processes in place to deal with special category data lawfully – this is sensitive information about, for example, your employees’ health, race or trade union membership;
  • being ready to respond to data subject access requests from employees, job applicants or others; and
  • ensuring that third-party data processors, such as benefits providers, have appropriate security measures in place to protect the personal data of your employees.

The Data Protection Act 2018 supplements the provisions of the GDPR.

Susie Munro, senior employment law editor

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HR and legal information and guidance relating to data protection.