Women working in a Bangladesh garment factory

Working Conditions

The rights to adequate and decent working conditions include a large array of human rights including the rights to freedom of association, equal opportunity, protection against all forms of discrimination, health and safety, and many others.

As a result, adverse impacts on working conditions cover a wide range of issues, from wages, excessive hours and unequal pay for work of equal value to exposure to dangerous chemical agents and unsafe factory environments. For example, in 2013, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed with 3,500 garment workers inside, killing 1,129 and injuring 2,500. In 2014, six hundred workers of the Korean Master Sport Shoe factory in Myanmar went on strike over grievance regarding wages and leave.

Investors should call on companies to act with due diligence to ensure that (1) working hours are limited to 48 per week by both company policy and practice, or fewer if provided by national law, collective agreement, or industry standards; (2) provide workers with a living wage sufficient to meet basic food, clothing, and housing needs and provide some discretionary income for themselves and their dependents; and (3) all workers are provided, free of charge or deposits, with the protective equipment necessary to safely perform their job functions.

Featured Resources: