Daily Archives: August 19, 2007

JLP Responsible Sourcing Part X: Regular Employment

In our last post, we discussed the subject of wages, corresponding to section I of the report. In today’s post, we cover section J of The John Lewis Partnership‘s Responsible Sourcing Supplier Workbook, which covers regular employment.

Generally speaking, workers should have a formally recognized employment relationship and should have security in employment and the financial security and legal rights this entails. More specifically:

  • Contract workers must have a written contract that clearly conveys their terms and conditions of work in terms they can understand
  • Temporary and casual workers and subcontractors should only be used for short durations; it is unethical, and in some places illegal, to keep workers on repeated short term contracts for years simply to avoid the obligations (such as better pay and health benefits) associated with regular workers
  • Unknown or closed agencies should not be used, as this robs workers of control over their pay and benefits
  • Only workers with a right to work are to be employed

As with many of the other sections, we again find some disturbing facts around the issue of regular employment:

  • The ILO estimates roughly 20 Million migrant workers (& family members) across Africa, 18 Million across North America, 12 Million in Central & South America, 7 Million in South & East Asia, 9 Million in the Middle East, and 30 Million across Europe
  • Up to 80% of agricultural wage-earners in India, 77% in Brazil, and 62% in Spain are temporary workers
  • Estimates of temporary workers in the UK vary from 600,000 to 1 Million

Therefore, it’s important that you:

  • Provide all employees with a written contract in their native language
  • Insure you are not employing the same workers on repeated temporary contracts or apprenticeship schemes
  • Only employ apprentices for the maximum period permitted by law
  • Encourage workers to participate in all state benefits
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure you only employ those with the right to work
  • Only dismiss a worker for a valid and legal reason

In our next post, we’ll tackle the tenth major issue addressed by the workbook, the environment. (You can access all of the posts in the series (to-date) by selecting the JLP category at any time.)