Fair Wear Foundation & Workers Rights Consortium Code of Conduct

Standards upheld by FWF

1) Employment is freely chosen:

  • No use of forced, including bonded or prison, labour.

2) No exploitation of child labour:

  • No use of child labour.
  • No forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour.
  • Children [in the age of 15-18] shall not perform work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm their health, safety or morals.

3) There is no discrimination in employment:

  • Recruitment, wage policy, admittance to training programmes, employee promotion policy, policies of employment termination, retirement, and any other aspect of the employment relationship shall be based on the principle of equal opportunities, regardless of race, colour, sex, religion, political affiliation, union membership, nationality, social origin, deficiencies or handicaps.
  • FWF works towards better conditions for women and for other vulnerable groups like migrant workers.

4) Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining:

  • The right of all workers to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively shall be recognised.
  • The company shall, in those situations in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining are restricted under law, facilitate parallel means of independent and free association and bargaining for all workers.
  • Workers' representatives shall not be the subject of discrimination and shall have access to all workplaces necessary to carry out their representation functions.

5) Payment of a living wage:

  • Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week shall meet at least legal or industry minimum standards and always be sufficient to meet basic needs of workers and their families and to provide some discretionary income.
  • Deductions from wages for disciplinary measures shall not be permitted nor shall any deductions from wages not provided for by national law be permitted. Deductions shall never constitute an amount that will lead the employee to receive less than the minimum wage.
  • Employees shall be adequately and clearly informed about the specifications of their wages including wage rates and pay period.

6) No excessive working hours:

  • Hours of work shall comply with applicable laws and industry standards.
  • In any event, workers shall not on a regular basis be required to work in excess of 48 hours per week and shall be provided with at least one day off for every seven-day period.
  • Overtime shall be voluntary, shall not exceed 12 hours per week, shall not be demanded on a regular basis and shall always be compensated at a premium rate.

7) Safe and healthy working conditions:

  • A safe and hygienic working environment shall be provided, and best occupational health and safety practice shall be promoted, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards.
  • Appropriate attention shall be paid to occupational hazards specific to this branch of the industry and assure that a safe and hygienic work environment is provided for.
  • Effective regulations shall be implemented to prevent accidents and minimise health risks as much as possible.
  • Physical abuse, threats of physical abuse, unusual punishments or discipline, sexual and other harassment, and intimidation by the employer is strictly prohibited.

8) Legally binding employment relationship:

  • Obligations to employees under labour or social security laws and regulations arising from the regular employment relationship shall not be avoided through the use of labour-only contracting arrangements, or through apprenticeship schemes where there is no real intent to impart skills or provide regular employment.
  • Younger workers shall be given the opportunity to participate in education and training programmes.

Standards upheld by WRC

1) Forced labor:

  • No use of forced prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor or other forced labor.

2) Child labor:

  • Licensees shall not employ any person younger than 15 (or 14, where, consistent with ILO practices for developing countries, the law of the country of manufacture allows such exception).
  • Where the age for completing compulsory education is higher than the minimum age of employment (above), the higher age for completing compulsory education shall apply to this section.
  • Licensees agree to consult with governmental, human rights, and nongovernmental organizations, and to take reasonable steps as evaluated by the University to minimize the negative impact on children released from employment as a result of implementation or enforcement of the Code.

3) Nondiscrimination:

  • No person shall be subject to any discrimination in employment, including hiring, salary, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, or social or ethnic origin.

4) Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining:

  • Licensees shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  • No employee shall be subject to harassment/ intimidation/ retaliation in their efforts to freely associate or bargain collectively.
  • Licensees shall not cooperate with governmental agencies and other organizations that use the power of the State to prevent workers from organizing a union of their choice. Licensees shall allow union organizers free access to employees.
  • Licensees shall recognize the union of the employees’ choice.

5) Wages and benefits:

  • Licensees shall pay employees, as a floor, wages and benefits which comply with all applicable laws/regulations, and which provide for essential needs and establish a dignified living wage for workers and their families. [A living wage is a “take home” or “net” wage, earned during a country’s legal maximum work week (no more than 48 hours). A living wage provides for the basic needs of an average family unit of employees in the garment manufacturing employment sector of the country divided by the average number of adult wage earners in the family unit of employees in the garment manufacturing employment sector of the country.]

6) Working hours / overtime compensation:

  • Hourly and/or quota-based wage employees shall (i) not be required to work more than the lesser of (a) 48 hours per week or (b) the limits on regular hours allowed by the law of the country of manufacture, and (ii) be entitled to at least one day off in every seven day period, as well as holidays and vacations.
  • All overtime hours must be worked voluntarily by employees. In addition to their compensation for regular hours of work, hourly and/or quota-based wage employees shall be compensated for overtime hours at such a premium rate as is legally required in the country of manufacture or, in those countries where such laws do not exist, at a rate at least one and one-half their regular hourly compensation rate.

7) Health and Safety / Harassment or Abuse:

  • Licensees shall provide a safe and healthy working environment to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operation of Licensee facilities.
  • The Licensee shall ensure that its direct operations and those of any subcontractors comply with all workplace safety and health regulations established by the national government where the production facility is located; and with all health and safety conventions of the ILO ratified and adopted by the country in which the production facility is located.
  • Every employee shall be treated with dignity and respect.
  • No employee shall be subject to any physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse. Licensees will not use or tolerate any form of corporal punishment.

8) Women’s Rights:

  • Women workers will receive equal remuneration, including equal benefits; treatment; evaluation of the quality of work; and opportunity to fill all positions open to male workers.
  • Pregnancy tests will not be a condition of employment, nor will they be demanded of employees.
  • Workers who take maternity leave will not face dismissal nor threat of dismissal, loss of seniority or deduction of wages, and will be able to return to their former employment at the same rate of pay/benefits.
  • Workers will not be forced or pressured to use contraception.
  • Workers will not be exposed to hazards, including glues and solvents, that may endanger their safety, including their reproductive health.
  • Licensees shall provide appropriate services and accommodation to women workers in connection with pregnancy.

9) Additional:

  • Any additional standards implemented by a university can be added to these standards.