FACTORY HUMAN RIGHTS GUIDELINES

FAIR WAGES

 IDEAL PRACTICE:

The factory pays its workers the legal minimum wage or the local industry practice, whichever is higher.
A training wage, if paid, shall not be less than the minimum wage and shall not be paid for a period of more than three months.
The factory communicates in writing and orally to all new workers the wages and benefits to which they are entitled.
The factory supplements worker benefits and improve worker morale by providing activities and services outside the normal work day.
The factory does not deduct from the worker’s pay excessive agent recruitment fees.
The factory provides workers a wage statement every pay period which clearly identifies the wages earned, the regular wage and overtime components, required allowances and legal or agreed upon deductions.

ELABORATION:

The minimum wage is based on worked performed during the legally prescribed work day – overtime wages cannot be counted toward the minimum wages nor can bonuses.
If a worker is paid by piece rate and if the worker’s production falls below the minimum wage, the difference must be paid by the factory to bring the wage up to the minimum level.
A training wage is generally used as means to avoid hiring regular workers. As per  our standard, after three months, workers are entitled to the same wages and benefits as permanent employees.
Written policies and procedures and orientation should cover, in addition to regular and overtime wage rates, allowances, bonuses, benefits, and payroll practices, other key personnel and safety issues such as leave, discipline, first aid emergency medical procedures, safety and fire procedures, and, where appropriate, the handling of hazardous materials.
The factory should supplement services that are particularly valuable for the workers such as postal service, banking, a convenience store and telephone service.
The factory must not pay recruitment fees for workers directly to the recruitment agency and then recover this expense by deducting the fee from the worker’s wages. Nor should the factory deduct the fee and then remit it to the agency.
While it is not required, it is recommended that each worker receive an individual pay slip with a breakdown of income and deduction categories.

BOTTOM LINE :

Each worker receives an individual pay slip which clearly identifies regular and overtime wages, other allowances and deductions. Payroll records are maintained on a computerized system that is linked to the timeclock, permitting automatic calculation of workers wages. 

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CHILD LABOR

 IDEAL PRACTICE:

The factory employs workers who are at least 18 years of age.
The factory has established procedures for verifying the age of all employees and maintains in each employee’s personal file independent documentation of date of birth.

ELABORATION:

The factory should require that a worker show upon employment an original document that verifies age. This document can be a birth certificate, Passport, or village headman confirmation of age, the opinion of an independent medical authority, or a locally elected official (ward commissioner etc.).

BOTTOM LINE :

The factory must avoid, under all circumstances , employing child labor. Age certificate of each worker must be present to verify any claim in this regard. 

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WORKING HOURS AND OVERTIME

 IDEAL POLICY : 

Workers work less than 60 hours in a week, except in extraordinary business circumstances, or abide by local law on working hours, whichever is lower.
The factory complies with all applicable laws, rules and regulations on working hours, overtime, benefits and prohibited tasks for specified groups of workers, including those to protect the health and safety of female workers and workers under the age of 18.
The factory informs the workers prior to employment of its policy on overtime and the conditions under which workers may exercise their right to refuse overtime without the threat of punishment, penalty or dismissal.
The factory pays wage rates for overtime that is double the rates for regular working hours, and meet all applicable laws and regulations or the local industry practice, whichever is greater.
The factory has a written policy which allows workers one day off in every seven day period.
The factory provides workers the paid annual leave and holidays required by law or set by industry practice, whichever is greater.

ELABORATON:

When a worker is hired, the factory must disclose to the worker the regular hours to be worked per day, the applicable wage rate, the policies regarding overtime hours and pay, and the length of the probationary period ( Not to exceed three months from the date of hiring).
The factory should at the time of employment make clear to the worker, preferably in a written employee handbook or the employment contract/letter, the factory’s policy on overtime expectations and requirements and the reasons and conditions under which a worker may choose not to work overtime. The factory must agree to not punish by dismissal, suspension, change of work assignment, deductions from earned income or denial of future opportunities to work overtime, any worker who exercise the right to refuse overtime under the conditions specified at the time of employment. To get a job, workers should not have to agree to overtime requirements that exceed the limits set by law or our standard.
Wages based upon piecework calculations must equal or exceed the wage rate that would otherwise be paid for regular hours plus overtime hours.
In some instances, owners of multiple factories have tried to avoid paying required overtime by moving workers from one factory to another during the same day. Workers who work the legally prescribed work day in one factory cannot be moved to another factory to work a second shift at regular pay.
The factory should have a written policy permitting workers one day off in every seven day period. The our standard does not prohibit workers from choosing not to take one day off in seven nor does it prohibit the factory from requiring workers to work more than six days. Under these circumstances, workers must be given compensatory time off.
The factory must spell out the leave and holiday policy which the workers are given at the time of employment.

BOTTOM LINE :

Workers keep a copy of their letter of Employment describing the terms of employment, regular hours to be worked per day, the applicable wage rate and overtime policy. Each worker receive an employment handbook with personnel policies, including annual and sick leave, holidays benefits, promotion process, discipline process, grievance procedure and policy on termination. 

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NON-DISCRIMINATION

 IDEAL PRACTICE:

The factory hires workers on the basis of individual skills and does not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion or social or ethnic origin.
The factory pays wages, bonus, allowances and all other forms of compensation to workers on the basis of job performance and behavior.
The factory promotes, disciplines, assigns work, terminates employment and provides for retirement on the basis of individual job performance and behavior.

ELABORATION:

Any distinction, exclusion or preferential treatment unrelated to job assignment or performance- any distinction that runs counter to or hinders equal opportunity and treatment- is in non compliance with  our standard.
Having workers of  the same gender in a section of a factory is not by itself an evidence of discrimination. What is suspect are sweeping statements like “ this is man’s work;” “it’s too hard for a woman;” “ women make better stitchers because they are more dependable;” and “women make less trouble.”
Distribution by race, color, national origin, gender or religion in any area of the factory should not seem skewed beyond common sense expectations.
The factory must not screen women for pregnancy during hiring, nor should it discipline or terminate women who become pregnant. The factory must provide maternity leave and benefits in accordance with applicable law. Factory management must not pressure pregnant workers to resign by singling them out for special tasks and levels of overtime.
If a worker is vocal in his support for a political party or a movement for political reform and as a result is denied promotion or terminated, this would be in non-compliance with our standard.

BOTTOM LINE :

A factory does not make gender a condition of employment for any position in the factory. Men and women work together on job tasks within the factory, including stitching, stock-fitting, and running hot press machines. 

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FORCED OR COMPULSORY LABOR

 IDEAL POLICY: 

The factory does not use involuntary prison labor in any aspect of the production process.
The factory does not use bonded laborers or any other workers forced to work involuntarily in any aspect of the production process.
The factory does not purchase production materials that are manufactured by prisoners or other workers forced to work involuntarily.
The factory permits foreign nationals and domestic workers employed under contract for a specified period of time to terminate without restrictive or unreasonable conditions their employment prior to the end of their contract.
The factory assists foreign nationals or domestic migrant workers with obtaining and renewing proper work permits or visas.

ELABORATION:

Bonded labor refers to labor to pay off a debt: a person borrows money from an employer and  in exchange the borrower or most often his/her child must work to pay off the debt which, because of excessive interest, keeps mounting.
The factory should impose no conditions which in practice would force workers imported from outside the country or recruited from another part of the country and housed by the factory to stay against their will until their contract is finished.
The factories must employ workers, whether foreign or domestic, in full compliance with the law. Factories may be in violation of the law in respect to workers whose work permits and visas are not renewed in accordance with the law.

BOTTOM LINE:

A Factory which employs foreign nationals creates an institutionalized system to assist workers with renewing visas. As part of such a system, the factory distributes to foreign workers: the phone number and address of their embassy, the phone number of hotlines or shelters and information on how to safely remit money to their homes. 

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FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

 IDEAL PRACTICE:

The factory both in policy and practice does not refuse employment to otherwise qualified workers because of membership in a union or other legal association.
The factory does not dismiss workers, deny them promotion or work opportunities or assign jobs or working conditions because of membership or activities in a union or other legal association.
The factory does not interfere with the workers’ right to establish, organize and join associations of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.
The factory has a system for resolving workplace disputes and it communicates the system to workers.


BOTTOM LINE:

Representatives freely chosen by the workers sit on a dispute resolution committee or body that receives and investigates workplace grievances. Workers can choose to report a workplace problem either to a direct supervisor or to the dispute resolution body. This system alerts management to problems in the workplace and helps create solutions. 

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