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Do I Need to Update My Staff Privacy Notice?

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When an organisation hires employees or freelancers such as contractors, it is crucial to provide them with specific information about using their personal data. This is a legal obligation under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), supplemented in the UK by the Data Protection Act 2018. The usual way to fulfil this requirement is by providing a ‘Staff Privacy Notice’ to all staff. However, there are occasions when a Staff Privacy Policy must be updated. This article considers what a Staff Privacy Notice is and explores various scenarios where you may need to update it. 

What is a Staff Privacy Notice?

Data protection legislation in the UK is stringent regarding a controller’s obligations to be transparent about their use of personal data. 

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Businesses often collect a range of personal data from staff. This could include general types of personal data such as names and email addresses. However, it could also cover special categories of personal data, such as information about religious beliefs and sexual orientation, to monitor equal opportunities. 

If you are processing staff personal data, you must inform them why you are doing so. This is vital for complying with the transparency requirements under the UK GDPR rules. 

This means clearly explaining how your business uses staff personal data and why. Businesses commonly achieve this by issuing staff with a Staff Privacy Notice document. This document clearly describes why personal data is collected and for what reasons, including detailed information about how the business will use it.

It is crucial to note that you should provide this document to employees, other staff, and workers such as freelancers, contractors, and volunteers

Do I Need to Update My Staff Privacy Notice?

 A Staff Privacy Policy is vital for UK GDPR compliance. Your business should review and update it regularly to ensure accuracy and up-to-dateness. 

Here are some examples of crucial stages where you will need to consider updating your Staff Privacy Notice:

  • if you start collecting or using new types of personal data from your staff, your document must reflect the same. For instance, if you decide to collect special categories of personal data from staff for specific purposes, your notice will need to be updated to reflect this. This occurred after the COVID-19 pandemic when companies started collecting new categories of health data from staff to meet health and safety requirements to safeguard their workforce from the virus;
  • if you start using staff data for new purposes which differ from what you initially communicated to them, you may also need to update your Staff Privacy Notice accordingly; and
  • if you start to share staff data with new third parties, they will need to be aware of this, and you may need to update your Staff Privacy Notice accordingly. For instance, if you start working with a new agency that will access various staff data (such as their job history, biographies and photos) as part of a new recruitment campaign for your business.
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You may need to update your Staff Privacy Notice in various circumstances. You must understand these situations and when to revise your document and reissue it to staff. This can be demanding, especially when you employ several staff across your business. 

Some examples of this include:

  • if you start to send personal data to countries outside of the UK, you should update your Staff Privacy Notice. For instance, this could occur if you are a UK business that subsequently starts to work with an IT support company based in the USA, meaning staff personal data will be sent or accessible from the US;
  • if your Data Protection Officer changes, or you need to appoint one for the first time due to a change in data practices, you should update your Staff Privacy Notice accordingly; and
  • data protection law rules or regulatory guidance changes may require Staff Privacy Notice updates.

If you require help understanding how to update a Staff Privacy Notice and issue an amended version, you should seek advice from a data protection solicitor. 

Key Takeaways

A business must ensure that its Staff Privacy Notice is accurate and up-to-date. As businesses evolve and expand, they may start collecting new data from staff or use it in different ways. This highlights the importance of consistently maintaining an up-to-date Staff Privacy Notice that accurately mirrors the company’s existing data handling procedures. It is crucial to periodically review and revise the Staff Privacy Notice to prevent any inaccuracies that could lead to non-compliance with UK GDPR standards, exposing the business to various risks.

You should consider regular updates to reflect changes in data collection, usage, sharing, and international transfer. New data types, purposes of use, third-party collaborations, and regulatory changes might also require revisions. Understanding these triggers and promptly updating the Staff Privacy Notice is vital for maintaining transparency and safeguarding staff data. While this process can be complex, seeking advice from a data protection solicitor can provide valuable support in navigating the details of updating and issuing an amended Staff Privacy Notice. 

If you need support updating a Staff Privacy Notice, our experienced IT lawyers can assist you as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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Sej Lamba

Sej Lamba

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