Step 3. Strengthening Assessments & Social Audits

Fair Hiring Toolkit for Brands

For Governments
 
This section provides a tailored introduction to the materials for governments and public policy actors, including an overview of the most relevant tools and guidance with an explanation of how these tools can support the work of governments and other public policy actors. These tools complement national and international regulatory efforts to promote fair hiring, reign in abusive labor recruiter practices, and establish rigorous protections for migrant workers.
For Advocates
 
This section of Verité’s Fair Hiring Toolkit provides a tailored introduction to the materials for labor rights advocates and labor unionists. An overview of the most relevant tools and guidance is provided, with an explanation of how these tools can support their work. The tools provided here are broad and multi-faceted, providing guidance on a range of issues linked to forced labor and human trafficking. You are encouraged to explore the material provided here and discover how you can put it to use in your own work.
For Investors
 
This section provides a tailored introduction to the materials for investors. An overview of the most relevant tools and guidance is provided, with an explanation of how these tools can support the work of investors. These tools can support investor campaigns, corporate advocacy and dialogue, and investment analysis of risks of forced labor and human trafficking in company operations and supply chains.
For Auditors
 
This section of Verité’s Fair Hiring Toolkit provides a tailored introduction to the materials for social auditors and certifiers. An overview of the most relevant tools and guidance is provided, with an explanation of how these tools can support their work. The Toolkit is extensive and multi-faceted; it provides guidance on a range of issues. Auditors are encouraged to explore the complete set of materials provided.
For Multi-Stakeholders
 
This section provides a tailored introduction to the materials for multi-stakeholder and multi-brand initiatives. An overview of the most relevant tools and guidance is provided, with an explanation of how these tools can support the work of multi-stakeholder and multi-brand initiatives.

Tool 3: Strengthening Assessments & Social Audits

Social audits are the primary tool used by brands to assess their own facilities and those of their suppliers for compliance with their corporate policies and codes, and to detect compliance violations and worker abuse. Most auditors, however, are ill-equipped to detect this abuse and to make the improvements in the recruitment, selection and hiring process necessary to address it effectively.

Human trafficking and recruiter-induced forced labor are complex issues. They are hidden, characterized by deception, and typically the result of complex pressures, abuses and exploitation levied not by a single employer but by a number of abusive actors at each stage of the recruitment, hiring and employment process, and at every level in the supply chain, up to and including the brand itself.

To account for this, brands need new assessment and compliance strategies. They need to audit not only themselves and their first-tier suppliers, but also the labor recruiters and other intermediaries that provide them with and/or manage workers on their behalf. They also need new and effective tools to assess and identify these new forms of abuse. At the same time, auditors also need to be fully trained. New tools, audit procedures and policies warrant new and better training on how to identify and address forced labor.

Incorporating these new strategies can help brands effectively reduce the risks they face and establish mechanisms to protect migrant workers. Auditors are at the frontline of global supply chains and CSR; they are better placed than many to prevent and address abuse. It is essential that they are well-equipped to do so.

The tools and links provided in the sidebar will help you get started. They provide guidance on improving social audits, with a focus on applying a management systems approach to risk identification and control. They also set out a framework for interviewing the labor recruiters and other intermediaries that are contracted by brand suppliers.

TOOL 1: Guidance For the Social Auditing of Forced Labor and Human Trafficking of Migrant Workers

Auditing for forced labor and human trafficking can present a number of significant challenges for brands and third party social auditors. These abuses are often hidden, and can be located in the hiring practices of the brand itself, in the complex sub-contracting arrangements of first tier suppliers, or at the margins of the formal economy where auditors typically have limited access. They may be the result of combined pressures, abuses and exploitation, and not simply a case of physical confinement or locked doors, which are easier for auditors to detect. Coercion may not be the result of supplier or employer mistreatment, although this, too, may be involved; rather, it may originate with abuses levied by an unscrupulous labor recruiter at the point of recruitment. Abuse with these origins is typically well beyond the reach of traditional CSR tools, making forced labor and human trafficking in global supply chains often invisible to otherwise well-intentioned auditors and global brands.

Integrating the guidance presented in this guide and related set of interview questions can strengthen your audit protocols and performance, and improve auditors’ ability to identify potential forced labor risk.


Case Study
Forced Labor & Human Trafficking: A Hidden Abuse in Global Supply Chains

There are many reasons why forced labor and human trafficking can be difficult for auditors to detect:

    • Deception and lies are a defining factor of human trafficking and among the key means used by dishonest labor recruiters to lure their victims into hiring traps.
    • A situation of forced labor may be the result not of a single, easily identifiable abuse but rather a series of circumstances and violations committed by different actors.
    • The abuse may originate with the nefarious actions of a labor recruiter overseas, as in the case of debt bondage due to excessive recruitment fees.
    • The management of workers by an on-site recruiter can make it more difficult to determine the nature of employment and working conditions for those involved.
    • Auditors themselves may also lack the skills, experience and resources they need to see forced labor or human trafficking in the first place.

INTERVIEWING MANAGERS
Managers are a key source of information for social auditors. The following approach should be used in audits of brand facilities and those of the brand’s suppliers. In assessing compliance against the relevant code provisions, auditors should make sure to speak with all possible members of the senior management team, either one-on-one or in a group. This can include the general manager, a human resource manager, senior CSR personnel and others responsible for social compliance at the facility. Speak about forced labor and human trafficking directly and address the full complexity of these issues, recognizing the need to go beyond asking if such abuse is prohibited. Ask about migrant workers in the facility, and learn more about them; include a section in your interview questionnaire about the use of labor recruiters and recruitment methods; and discuss in greater detail the recruitment, selection and hiring process used by the facility, as well as employment conditions facing migrant workers. Cross-check this information with the results of interviews with workers and labor recruiters themselves.

Here is a selective list of the key issues that auditors should discuss with facility managers:

  • General profile of migrant workers at the facility;
  • The process for selecting and contracting labor recruiters;
  • Who has oversight of the recruitment process;
  • Recruitment fees and expenses;
  • Contracts of employment for migrant workers;
  • Document retention and withholding passports;
  • Charging of security deposits
  • Wage payment and deductions;
  • Compulsory or involuntary overtime;
  • Migrant worker freedom of movement and personal freedom at the workplace and in dormitories;
  • Workplace discipline;
  • Threats of violence and intimidation;
  • Grievance procedures; and
  • Migrant worker rights to terminate employment without penalty.

See also the related tool for a full management interview guide: Tool 3: Conducting Interviews with Managers.


INTERVIEWING WORKERS
Speaking with workers – and, in particular, migrant workers – is also a key aspect of a comprehensive and rigorous social audit to address forced labor and human trafficking. This can be done individually or in groups, and every effort should be made to ensure the confidentiality and anonymity of worker identities and the statements they make. This is particularly important when dealing with sensitive matters such as forced labor and human trafficking, which can result in criminal sanctions for the perpetrators and others involved, and thus increase the risk of retaliation to workers.

Make sure to speak with a wide cross-section of migrant workers from different shifts, production lines, occupational groups (e.g. including security or cleaning staff) and sections of the workplace. Speak with workers both informally during the site inspection or walk-through, and more formally in the workplace, at dormitories or other agreed upon locations, if the latter allow workers to feel more comfortable. Use a variety of means and methods of interviewing to elicit detailed information about the recruitment, hiring and employment conditions facing workers.

Here are some of the issues that auditors should discuss directly with migrant workers:

  • How they were recruited, hired, transported and received in the countries of origin and destination;
  • What fees or expenses they were charged by the labor recruiter or its local partner in the country of destination;
  • Whether an employment contract was signed, with whom it was signed, and whether the worker had to sign two different sets of contracts;
  • Whether wage payments are ever withheld or delayed, or if illegal or unexplained deductions are made by the labor recruiter or facility from workers’ salaries;
  • If passports or other valuable documentation are ever confiscated; and
  • What restrictions there are, if any, on migrant workers’ freedom of movement and personal freedom in dormitories or other employer- or labor recruiter-operated housing.

See also the full worker interview guidance provided in Tool 4: Conducting Interviews with Migrant Workers.


INTERVIEWING LABOR RECRUITERS
A third feature of an effective forced labor audit – and one which is only rarely performed – is the interview with labor recruiters contracted by the facility. This can give the auditor full insight into the recruitment, selection and hiring procedures used by the recruiter, and the conditions facing migrant workers in pre-deployment, transportation, arrival and placement.

Auditors should speak with a broad cross-section of labor recruiters. They should interview recruiter representatives and sub-agents, if possible, from each country of origin of migrant workers in the facility, as well as local partners in the receiving country. Topics to discuss range from the specifics of fees and expenses charged to workers or the contracting facility to the recruiters’ legal history and its certification or license to operate in each country from which it sends workers. Some of the other issues to address with recruiters include:

  • The pre-departure orientation or training they provide to workers;
  • Contracting procedures and contract substitution;
  • Whether they also performs human resource management functions for migrant workers, such as salary payment;
  • Document retention or confiscation; and
  • Whether the recruiter has established an effective complaints mechanism or grievance procedure available to migrant workers.

For full guidance on conducting a labor recruiter audit, see: Tool 2: Conducting Interviews with Labor Recruiters.


REVIEWING DOCUMENTS
A review of documents can be an important part of an audit against forced labor and the trafficking of migrant workers. It is likely to include both company and worker documentation such as wage slips and contracts of employment, which are common to most social auditing systems; however it should also include a review of labor recruiter materials, which can be collected and used to cross check information gathered through the recruiter interview. Some of the written documents auditors may wish to review include:

  • Signed contracts between each labor recruiter and the facility;
  • A list of all migrant workers in the facility;
  • Copies of facility and labor recruiter policies and each party’s respective operating procedures handbook;
  • Personnel files for a representative number of migrant workers in the facility, including recently terminated workers and those that have resigned;
  • Recruiter and facility training records for migrant workers; and
  • Records of pending and past complaints or grievances that have been raised by migrant workers.

For more insight into how the document review can be used by auditors more effectively, see Tool 5: Conducting a Review of Documentation.

Related Tools:

TOOL 2: Conducting Interviews with Labor Recruiters

This tool is designed for use by brands and social auditors. It can be used by them to improve their own audit protocols by expanding the audit interview process to include labor recruiters that provide workers to the brand, or to a given brand or supplier facility. The tool is oriented to help assess the recruitment and hiring practices of labor recruiters integrated into global supply chains. It is consistent with the code provisions and benchmarks provided in this toolkit, and complementary to the corresponding management and worker interview tools.


GENERAL PROFILE OF THE LABOR RECRUITER AND ITS OPERATIONS
Auditors should start their labor recruiter audit by gathering basic information about the company and its business. This can help to orient the rest of the interview with the labor recruiter and identify any potential issues that require follow-up or further discussion. It can also provide the auditor with an opportunity to explore the relationship between the labor recruiter and the companies and countries to which it sends labor.

  • What is the name of the labor recruiter? Its address? The names of its owners and their nationalities? And the names and addresses of other labor agencies operated by the owners?
  • Do the owners of the labor recruitment firm have any other businesses? What are the names, locations and nature of those businesses?
  • How many years has the labor recruiter been in the business of supplying manpower?
  • What are the main services that the labor recruiter provides?
  • What types of migrant workers does the labor recruiter provide? Do these include professional, skilled, semi-skilled or low-skilled migrant workers? In what industry or industries does the labor recruiter place migrant workers? What countries does the labor recruiter supply labor to?
  • Does the labor recruiter work with local partners in each country where it provides labor? Who are the local partners the labor recruiter works with for the facility in question? What are their names, addresses and complete contact information?
  • Has the labor recruiter ever paid money to a facility to “win” a contract for labor provision?
  • How many years has the labor recruiter provided migrant workers to this particular facility?
  • Does the contract signed between the labor recruiter and the facility contain clauses on social compliance, for example measures to prevent forced labor and human trafficking?

GENERAL PROFILE OF THE MIGRANT WORKERS PLACED WITH THE FACILITY
It is important for the auditor to gain close insight into the migrant workers that are placed by the labor recruiter. This can be done by speaking with the labor recruiter itself, its sub-agents and its local partners, although it will be essential to cross-check this information through interviews with a representative number of migrant workers as well. Generally speaking, the auditor will approach the labor recruiter through a facility to which it sends migrant workers and where the auditor is currently conducting an assessment. This triangle of actors will help the auditor identify each of the migrant workers placed by the labor recruiter, their national and personal details, and basic information about their employment contract and relationship.

  • How many migrant workers has the labor recruiter placed with the facility in question?
  • What are the countries of origin of the migrant workers placed with the facility, the number of workers from each country, and the duration of their contracts?
    • Does the labor recruiter have a complete list of migrant workers placed with the facility, including the following information:
    • Names;
    • Workstation department or shift;
    • Date of hire;
    • Home country address of workers and phone numbers; and
    • Emergency contact information.

LEGAL HISTORY AND SOCIAL COMPLIANCE
In addition to gathering basic information about the labor recruiter’s business and the migrant workers it has placed, it will be important for the auditor to assess the legal and social compliance of the labor recruiter, as well as its system for staying up to date on new regulations or regulatory changes that affect businesses sending workers overseas. Discussions can focus on public licensing or certification for labor recruiters, company policies on social responsibility and the procedures or overall management system the labor recruiter has in place to ensure protection of migrant workers.

  • Is the labor recruiter legally registered and licensed to operate in each country from which it sends workers?
  • What aspects of the labor recruiter’s business are audited or inspected by local government authorities? How often does this audit or inspection occur?
  • What system does the labor recruiter have in place to ensure that it stays up-to-date on new legal and regulatory developments concerning migrant workers in the country or countries where it places workers?
  • Does the labor recruiter have an implementing structure, an accountable officer and clear procedures to guarantee that its policies are compliant with relevant laws and regulations?
  • Has the labor recruiter ever been cited or penalized by local or foreign authorities for any reason relating to its practices within the last five years? If yes, have these conditions been corrected to the satisfaction of the inspecting/citing authority?
  • Are there any civil or criminal legal actions against the owner(s) pending? If yes, what are the details of this action?
  • Does the labor recruiter have a code of conduct that explicitly prohibits forced labor and human trafficking, and sets out protective measures for migrant workers?

RECRUITMENT AND HIRING PROCESS
A focus on the details of the recruitment and hiring process used by the labor recruiter will illuminate any potential risks that may face migrant workers placed by the labor recruiter. Auditors should seek to understand the full scope of this process, including the recruitment, selection, contracting, hiring and transportation stages. They should also be aware of the actors involved at each stage, for example whether or not sub-agents are used to recruit migrant workers from further afield. This stage of the labor recruiter interview also opens the door to discussing transparency in recruitment and the information that is provided to migrant workers in the pre-departure phase.

  • What is the step-by-step process used by the labor recruiter for recruiting migrant workers, including information about recruitment and applicant selection; documents processing; the contracting process and signature of employment contracts; recruitment fees; and pre-departure briefing?
  • Does the labor recruiter have measures in place to ensure that its representatives and sub-agents working on its behalf provide migrant workers with true and accurate details about working, employment and living conditions at the time of recruitment?
    • Does the labor recruiter provide pre-departure orientation and training to migrant workers in order to review:
      • Contractual obligations;
      • Employee and employer rights and obligations;
      • Terms and conditions of work;
      • Living conditions;
      • Company policies; and
      • Grievance mechanisms in place for workers?

RECRUITMENT FEES AND EXPENSES
The fees and expenses charged to migrant workers by labor recruiters that recruit, hire, send and receive them overseas can create grave vulnerability to debt bondage and forced labor. Auditors will need to probe for this carefully and with a variety of questions and interview techniques.

Fees can be charged by the labor recruiter, its sub-agents or local partners. Fees might be deducted from migrant workers’ wages or paid up-front by the migrant worker. The facility may or may not know about the extent of the fees that have been charged.

It is the auditor’s responsibility to uncover this complexity and to cross-check the information with statements made by facility managers and migrant workers.

The following issues should be included in the audit of a facility that is host to migrant workers.

  • Do migrant workers pay a fee in their country of origin or the receiving country for labor-recruitment services? How much do they have to pay, and what do these fees cover?
      • Reservation or Commitment Fee: Is this amount returned or refunded to the worker if he or she is not selected for employment?
      • Service, Placement or Recruitment fee: Is this fee paid up-front and directly to the labor recruiter, or is it deducted from the worker’s salary at the facility?
      • Processing of Travel Documents, Visas and Work Permits: Is a separate fee charged for this or is this included in the recruitment fee?
      • Registration for Skills Testing or Certification: Is this charge included in the recruitment fee or do workers pay for this directly to the government labor recruiter providing the service?
      • Mandatory Physical, Health or Medical Tests Required by Sending and Receiving Country
      • Language Training or Pre-departure Orientation or Seminar
      • Air Travel or Other Transportation Costs: Are such costs included in the recruitment fee, paid by the worker up-front, or paid by the facility?
      • Surety Bond or Deposit
      • Other Fees
        • Does the labor recruiter provide workers with a written itemized breakdown of the fees and expenses they pay?
        • Upon arrival at the place of employment, are workers charged further fees by the labor recruiter or its local partners, for example a labor recruitment fee or surety bond that is paid on-site?
        • Does the labor recruiter or facility deduct a portion of the recruitment fee from migrant workers’ salaries? If yes, how much is deducted per month, and for how many months?
        • Are migrant workers required to pay a deposit to hold a contract? How much is the deposit, and is it paid to the labor recruiter, facility or both? Under what circumstances and how do workers get their deposit back?

EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS
Auditors will also want to discuss the contracting process and the nature of employment contracts with labor recruiters. The key question here concerns contract substitution, a process whereby an original contract that has been signed by a migrant worker is replaced by another – or supplemented with additional pages – that worsen the conditions agreed to. However, there are other issues at play that the auditor should also seek to address. These include how and where the contract was signed, and the language in which it was written. To verify the information provided by recruiters, the auditor may wish to review copies of employment contracts provided to migrant workers during the document review process.

  • Who are migrant workers under contract to: the labor recruiter, the facility, or both?
  • Are employment contracts with migrant workers signed in the country of origin, upon arrival at the location of employment, or both?
  • How does the labor broker guarantee that migrant workers understand the contents of the employment contract before they sign it?
  • Is the contract written in a language that migrant workers understand?
  • Are migrant workers given a copy of their signed contract?
  • What measures does the labor broker have in place to ensure that its representatives and sub-agents do not misrepresent the nature of the job offered at the time of recruitment or hiring?

Does the labor recruiter have measures in place to ensure that the original contracts signed by migrant workers are not amended in any way by the facility, representatives of the labor recruiter itself, or its local partner in the receiving country, unless to improve upon the migrant worker’s originally anticipated employment conditions? Are such changes made only with the full knowledge and consent of the migrant worker concerned?


DOCUMENT RETENTION
Auditors should also discuss the issue of document retention with labor recruiters. This will be particularly important in cases where labor recruiters act as the on-site managers of the workers they place and where they are responsible for general human resources management. It will also be important in those cases where migrant workers reside in labor recruiter-operated dormitories. If the facility operates in a jurisdiction where employers are required to maintain migrant workers’ travel documents, the auditor will also want to discuss any mechanisms the labor recruiter has in place to allow workers free access to their documents.

  • Does the labor recruiter, its local partner or facility ever hold migrant workers’ passports or other valuable items (e.g. bank books or ATM cards)? If yes, is this legally required?
  • If the labor recruiter, its local partner or facility holds passports for legal reasons or by request of the worker:
  • Do workers have unrestricted access to them at any time?
  • Are workers provided with an exact copy of the documentation when it is not in their possession?
  • Has the labor recruiter, local partner or facility nominated a responsible person to ensure that workers have free access to their documents upon demand?
  • Does the labor recruiter notify workers of these conditions and procedures in advance?DEPOSITS
    Security deposits are sometimes charged by labor recruiters to prevent migrant workers from leaving the employer and finding a new job. They are frequently referred to as “runaway insurance”. It is important for the auditor to review this issue to determine whether such a charge has been made, who made it, and the conditions under which workers get it back.
  • Are migrant workers ever required to pay a deposit or bond of any kind to the labor recruiter, its local partner or the facility during the recruitment process or at any other time during employment?
  • How much is this deposit or bond? When and how is this money returned to workers?

WAGES AND WAGE DEDUCTIONS
The auditor should discuss wage payment practices and deductions with labor recruiters when they act as the formal employer of migrant workers at the facility. If this is not the case, the labor recruiter will have little to provide at this stage of the interview. Auditors should also speak with labor recruiters about any advances or loans they provide to workers, for example to cover recruitment fees or expenses. This should address loan conditions, interest rates and financing periods to ensure worker consent, transparency and ethical behavior.

  • Does the labor recruiter, its local partner or facility pay migrant workers?
  • If the labor recruiter or its partner pays workers, when and at what frequency are they paid?
  • Are wage payments ever delayed or withheld? If yes, under what circumstances has this occurred?
  • Are migrant workers given a pay slip or wage statement on payday? Does this pay slip clearly indicate wage calculations and any deductions made from their salary?
  • How does the labor recruiter ensure that migrant workers are paid at the same basic rate as local workers?
  • Does the labor recruiter make any deductions or withholdings from workers’ pay? If yes, how much is deducted, and what do these deductions cover? Are these deductions stipulated in workers’ contracts? Are they made with workers’ knowledge and consent?
  • Does the labor recruiter or its local partner deduct for meals or housing? If yes, do migrant workers have the option to withdraw from food and housing provisions?
  • Does the labor recruiter ever provide loans to migrant workers for recruitment fees? What amount is provided? What is the interest rate on the loan and the financing period? Are loan agreements or advances concluded with the full knowledge and consent of workers?
  • If migrant workers borrow money from the labor recruiter, how do they pay the loan back? Is it paid in cash to the labor recruiter or facility, deducted from paychecks, or another method? How much do workers pay monthly, and how many months do they have to pay for the loan?
  • Does the labor recruiter, local partner or facility deduct any amount from workers’ salaries as part of a savings program? How much is deducted? Is this deduction voluntary? Are savings kept at a bank account in the country of origin or the receiving country? Do workers have full control and access to their savings at all times? Does anyone else have access to workers’ savings or authority to withdraw money? When do workers get their savings back?

COMPULSORY OR INVOLUNTARY OVERTIME
A key form of forced labor that all workers, including migrant workers, can face is compulsory or involuntary overtime beyond the limits established by national law. If the labor recruiter is responsible for the general management of the workers it places with the facility (including hours of work and overtime), the auditor should discuss this in order to determine what labor recruiter policies and procedures are and the measures the labor recruiter has in place to guarantee overtime is always voluntary.

  • Are workers ever required by the labor recruiter, its local partner or the facility to work more overtime than allowed by national law? What are the circumstances of such requirements?
  • When overtime is necessary, are workers free to refuse it? Does the labor recruiter or facility ever punish workers for refusing to work overtime?

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND PERSONAL FREEDOM
Restrictions on the freedom of movement and personal freedom of migrant workers can occur in the workplace and in labor recruiter- or employer-operated residences. When speaking with labor recruiters about this, auditors should determine whether such restrictions exist and, if so, why and can they be considered reasonable? Auditors should also discuss in detail any labor recruiter-operated dormitories, if they exist, and the living conditions that face workers there.

  • Does the labor recruiter or its local partner place any restrictions on migrant workers’ freedom of movement in the workplace? What are these restrictions and the reasons for them?
  • Does the labor recruiter provide residence to migrant workers as part of its service? What is the name and address of the dormitory or hostel?
  • Are migrant workers required to live in such facilities or are they free to reside elsewhere?
  • Do migrant workers pay for this accommodation? How much do they pay per month? Is the amount they pay commensurate to or lower than market rates? How do workers pay for this accommodation?
  • Are there any restrictions on movement for migrant workers within such accommodation or outside working hours? Does the residence have a curfew? Are workers allowed to receive guests or visitors?

WORKPLACE DISCIPLINE
Disciplinary procedures in the workplace will only be the responsibility of labor recruiters if they manage workers directly. If this is the case, auditors should assess whether monetary fines are ever levied for workplace misconduct and, if so, under what circumstances; and whether the labor recruiters’ sanctions ever result in compulsory labor. Information gathered at this stage of the labor recruiter interview can be cross checked with disciplinary records and statements from workers.

  • Who is responsible for workplace discipline in the facility? Are there any parties aside from the facility involved in disciplining workers, for example the labor recruiter or its local partner, or a dormitory representative?
  • What steps are taken for disciplining a worker? Are monetary fines ever levied for misconduct? If so, under what circumstances, for what types of offense, how much is charged, and how are these payments made?
  • Do disciplinary sanctions ever involve compulsory work? If they do, under what circumstances does this occur?
  • What types of misconduct carry the penalty of dismissal and repatriation? Does the labor recruiter have a clear process that includes credible investigation before workers are terminated and repatriated?
  • Are there any penalties for migrant workers who quit before their contract expires? In such cases, who pays for their return airfare or transportation?
  • Are there any penalties for migrant workers who are terminated or fired before their contract expires? In such cases, who pays for their return airfare or transportation?

THREAT OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION
Threats of violence, harassment and intimidation of any kind should be strictly prohibited by the labor recruiter. Auditors can use this opportunity to discuss company policy, awareness raising efforts, sensitization and training for labor recruiters and sub-agents, and any specific procedures the labor recruiter has in place to address instances of such abuse if they occur.

  • Does the labor recruiter have a clear policy that strictly prohibits the following:
  • Verbal abuse, harassment or intimidation?
  • Physical abuse, corporal punishment?
  • Sexual harassment or abuse?
  • Have there been any instances of such abuse involving a labor recruiter representative or local partner?

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
An effective and trustworthy grievance procedure or complaints mechanism for migrant workers is an important part of taking preventive and corrective action against abuse in the workplace and in the recruitment and hiring process. Auditors should seek to assess the labor recruiter’s procedure for receiving complaints and determine whether workers are free to raise the issues they have, whether these pertain to the employment practices of the facility or conditions related to the labor recruiter, its sub-agents or local partners.

  • Has the labor recruiter nominated a representative to receive and process complaints from migrant workers? Does this representative speak the language(s) of migrant workers?
  • Does the labor recruiter have an assigned unit or staff representative to receive and process workers’ reports of harassment or abuse?
  • What are the labor recruiter’s procedures for dealing with harassment and abuse? Do these include reporting, investigation, follow-up and sanctions?

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT
In discussing termination of employment with labor recruiters, auditors may wish to assess resignation procedures, notice periods and policies regarding repatriation under such circumstances. The key in this case is to ensure that workers suffer no penalty or threat of penalty in resigning or terminating their contract, as long as they do so with reasonable notice as required by law.

  • What is the labor recruiter’s policy and procedure for resignation? Are migrant workers free to resign at any time, given reasonable notice?
  • Are there any penalties for migrant workers who terminate their contract before its end-date? What are those penalties?
  • Does the labor recruiter or its local partner use any deceptive or coercive means to restrict workers’ freedom to terminate employment?

 

Related Tools:
Sample Strategies for Managing Risk in Recruitment, Selection and Hiring
Monitoring the Performance of Labor Recruiters – Introduction and Key Issues of Concern

TOOL 3: Conducting Interviews with Managers

This tool is designed for brands and social auditors to provide guidance on topics to discuss with facility managers on migrant workers and the risks of forced labor and human trafficking. It covers issues including working and employment conditions at the brand or supplier facility, the selection and screening process governing oversight of labor recruiters, and many others. Like the migrant worker and labor recruiter interview tools provided elsewhere in this section, this tool is consistent with the code provisions and benchmarks outlined in the “Improving Codes of Conduct” section of this toolkit. Taken together, these three interview tools represent a robust assessment process involving the three key actors in recruitment and hiring.


GENERAL PROFILE OF MIGRANT WORKERS AT THE FACILITY
In speaking with facility management about migrant and foreign contract workers in the workplace, it is important first to determine the general profile of such workers, for example how many there are at the facility, where they come from, and the methods and labor recruiters used to get them there. This will provide the foundation upon which the auditor can build an accurate picture of the recruitment, hiring and employment conditions facing migrants, and identify any potential red flags at the outset. Here are some of the issues auditors may wish to address at this stage:

  • How many migrant workers are employed at the facility? What is the total size of the workforce, and the percentage of migrant workers compared to this total?
  • What are the countries of origin of migrant workers (or regions, for internal migration) and what is the corresponding information:
      • Number of workers per country of origin;
      • Name and address of each labor recruiter in the country of origin and in the destination country; and
      • Duration of contracts of migrant workers.
  • For each labor recruiter in the country of origin and destination, what is the number of years that the facility has been working with them?
  • What are the reasons for the facility hiring migrant workers?
  • What are the relevant laws and regulations in the facility’s country governing the hiring of migrant workers? Does the facility have a system in place to ensure that it stays up-to-date on new legal and regulatory developments concerning migrant workers in the country?
  • Does the facility have a complete list of migrant workers in the facility, including the following information:
      • Names and employee numbers;
      • Workstation department and work schedule or shift;
      • Date of hire;
      • Name of labor recruiter (both sending and receiving country);
      • Home country address and phone number; and
      • Emergency contact information.
  • Does the facility have a complete list of labor recruiter providing migrant workers to the facility, including all relevant names and contact information?

SELECTION OF LABOR RECRUITERS AND CONTRACTING
The next step for auditors to consider taking is the examination of how labor recruiters are screened, selected and contracted by the facility. This is important because it gives the auditor insight into whether selection measures include indicators of labor recruiter compliance with legal and regulatory norms and social responsibility instruments. It is also important because only an interview with the facility manager can provide this information and insight. Auditors should bear this in mind as they review the following issues:

  • What is the process used by the facility for selecting labor recruiters in the country of origin and destination?
      • Has the facility developed specific criteria for recruiter screening and evaluation? What are these criteria, and do they include social compliance indicators?
      • Has the facility developed an assessment methodology for evaluating recruiters, including assessment tools, measurable indicators, clear guidelines and nomination of a representative to conduct evaluations?
      • Who is responsible for making the final decision in selecting recruiters?
  •  What measures does the facility have in place to ensure that contracted labor recruiters are legally registered and licensed to operate in the countries from which they send workers?
  • Does the facility have measures in place to ensure that contracted labor recruiters comply with all relevant laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which they operate? What are these measures?
  • How does the facility ensure that contracted labor recruiters have an implementing structure, an accountable officer and clear procedures that guarantee that policies are compliant with relevant laws and regulations?
  • What measures are in place at the facility to ensure that the labor recruiters they contract have:
      • Not been cited, suspended or otherwise sanctioned for non-compliance in any country of operation; or where this has occurred, that the labor recruiter can demonstrate it has corrected the problem?
      • A code of conduct that prohibits forced labor and human trafficking, and sets out protective measures for migrant workers?
      • An established grievance mechanism, procedures for investigating and reporting grievances, and protection for whistleblowers?
      • An effective remediation procedure in case of verified reports of noncompliance?
  • How do labor recruiters “win” the facility’s account? Has the facility ever received money from a recruiter or agency for awarding a contract to provide labor? Who covers the cost of the facility’s involvement in the recruitment process, for example travel and accommodation expenses?
  • Do contracts signed between the facility and its labor recruiters include specific clauses on social compliance policies, in particular measures to prevent forced labor and human trafficking? Are contractual obligations of the recruiter on the following issues specified in the contract: fees and expenses charged, services provided and an itemized account of deductions?

OVERSIGHT OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS
Along with close oversight of labor recruiter operations in the screening and selection process, it is also important that the facility develop procedures to assess and monitor those operations after the recruiter has been contracted. This may be difficult for the facility to accomplish, particularly for recruiters that operate in the country of origin; however, it is at this stage that migrant workers are at the greatest risk of abuse from unscrupulous recruiters and therefore of utmost importance that brand and supplier facilities have this insight into recruiter practices. Auditors may wish to consider the following issues in their discussion with facility management:

  • What is the step-by-step process used by the facility for recruiting migrant workers through labor recruiters?
  • Once contracted, what kind of oversight does the facility have on the practices of labor recruiters with regard to:
      • Recruitment and applicant selection;
      • Document processing (for example, travel and work permit);
      • Contracting process and signature of employment contracts;
      • Recruitment fees; and
      • Pre-departure briefing?
  • How does the facility ensure that labor recruiters give migrant workers accurate details about working, employment and living conditions at the time of recruitment?
  • Does the facility have measures in place to ensure that labor recruiters provide pre-departure orientation and training to workers in order to review:
      • Contractual obligations;
      • Employee and employer rights and obligations;
      • Terms and conditions of work;
      • Living conditions;
      • Company policies; and
      • Grievance mechanisms in place for workers?

RECRUITMENT FEES AND EXPENSES
Fees and expenses charged to workers for recruitment and other services represent the most significant risk of debt bondage for migrants. In speaking with facility managers, auditors should seek to determine how much workers have been charged, exactly what fees and expenses they have incurred, and to whom these charges are typically paid, for example labor recruiters in the country of origin, the receiving country or sub-agents of either. These facts can then be cross-checked with information provided by migrant workers themselves. Auditors may also wish to probe further on the measures that facilities have in place to oversee this key aspect of labor recruiter operations.

  • Does the company know whether migrant workers at the facility have paid a fee(s) to the labor recruiter(s) in the sending country? How much do they have to pay and what do these fees cover?
      • Reservation or Commitment Fee: Is this amount returned or refunded to the worker if he or she is not selected for employment?
      • Service, Placement or Recruitment Fee: Is this fee paid up-front and directly to the labor recruiter or is it deducted from the workers’ salary?
      • Processing of Travel documents, Visas and Work Permits: Is a separate fee charged for this or is this included in the recruitment fee?
      • Registration for Skills Testing or Certification: Is this charge included in the recruitment fee or do workers pay for this directly to a government agency providing this service?
      • Mandatory Physical, Health or Medical Tests Required By Sending and Receiving country
      • Language Training or Pre-departure Orientation Seminar
      • Air Travel or Other Transportation Costs: Are these costs included in the recruitment fee, paid by the worker up-front, or paid by the facility?
      • Surety Bond or Deposit
      • Other
  • What measures does the facility have in place to assess whether labor recruiters provide migrant workers with a written, itemized breakdown of the fees and expenses they pay?
  • In addition to oversight of sending country labor recruiters, does the facility have measures to review the practices of receiving country recruiters, where these are involved? What are these measures?
  • Does the facility know whether migrant workers have to pay a fee to labor recruiters in the receiving country? How much is this fee and what does it cover? For example:
      • Labor recruiter fee;
      • Levy fee;
      • Surety bond; and/or
      • Other
  • Does the facility make deductions from workers’ salaries to pay for these fees? How much is deducted per month, and for how many months?
  • Do migrant workers ever lodge deposits with the facility or labor recruiter in order to secure or hold a contract? Under what circumstances and how do workers get their deposit back?

CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT
Understanding the contracting process for migrant workers will be critical to the auditor’s ability to uncovering abuse and exploitation, if they have occurred. Migrant workers can be under contract to brand or supplier facilities, labor recruiters, or both at the same time. Many aspects of their terms and conditions of employment will be contingent on who employs them. Deception in the recruitment process can also be a key feature at this stage. In speaking with facilities, auditors may wish to consider discussing contract substitution or the false promises sometimes made to migrant workers at the time of recruitment or contracting. These can play a key role in facilitating workers’ descent into debt bondage or forced labor.

  • Are migrant workers under contract to the facility, labor recruiter or both?
  • Do migrant workers sign their employment contracts in the country of origin, on-site upon arrival, or both?
  • Is the employment contract written in a language that migrant workers understand?
  • Are migrant workers given a copy of their employment contract?
  • What measures does the facility have in place to ensure that:
      • The details described in migrant workers’ contracts of employment are the same as those provided at the time of recruitment?
      • Workers understand the terms and conditions described in the employment contract before they sign it?
      • The actual terms and conditions of employment that are provided on the job are consistent with those that the labor recruiter has described in the employment contract?
  • Are original contracts of employment signed by migrant workers ever amended in any way by the brand, supplier or labor recruiter? If so, under what circumstances has this occurred? Have amendments ever been made that significantly change the worker’s originally anticipated conditions of work? Are changes made with the full knowledge and consent of the migrant worker concerned?
  • Under what conditions can an employment contract be renewed?
  • Are migrant workers given a copy of the facility’s personnel policies or employee handbook? Are these provided in a language that workers understand?
  • Are facility policies, procedures, and work instructions communicated to workers in a language they understand?

DOCUMENT RETENTION
Brands, suppliers and labor recruiters can be involved in withholding or confiscating the passports or other valuable documents of migrant workers. It will therefore be important for auditors to discuss this with facility management, in order to ensure that the facility itself never acts in this way and that it has significant oversight over labor recruiters to ensure that they, too, do not operate in an abusive manner. At the same time, auditors may also wish to probe on facility measures that address this issue in legal environments where they are required to keep migrant worker documentation, or when they are asked by workers themselves to do so, e.g. for security reasons.

  • Does the facility or labor recruiter hold migrant workers’ passports or other valuable items (e.g. bank books or ATM cards) at any time? Is this legally required?
  • If passports or other documentation are withheld for legal reasons or by request of the worker:
    • Does the facility ensure that workers have immediate, unrestricted access to these documents?
    • Are workers provided with an exact copy of such documentation when it is not in their possession?
    • Has the facility nominated a responsible person to ensure that workers have free access to their documents upon demand?
    • Does the facility notify workers of these procedures in advance?
    • Are workers provided free access to a locked, secure storage space for personal documents and valuables?

DEPOSITS
Migrant workers are sometimes required to pay a deposit or bond to the facility or labor recruiter. This money is used as a form of “run-away insurance” to prevent them from leaving their job and finding another, a situation which represents a clear case of abuse. Auditors should inquire about this practice when they speak with facilities; and they should also keep in mind that it may be the labor recruiter, not the facility, that has applied this charge. If this is the case, the auditor may wish to determine whether the facility has developed appropriate measures to ensure such abuse is not committed by the recruiters it contracts.

  • Do migrant workers have to pay a deposit or bond of any kind during the recruitment process or at any other time during employment, either to the facility or to the labor recruiter? How much is this deposit or bond, and to whom is it paid? When and how is the money returned to workers?

WAGES AND WAGE DEDUCTIONS
The interview with facility management represents an important opportunity to discuss migrant workers’ salaries and facility wage payment practices, including the key issue of wage deductions. Auditors will want to cross check this information through the document review by examining worker pay slips and salary statements, and by speaking with workers themselves. As with other aspects of the audit process, facility managers can also provide the auditor with key information that provides a more complete picture of the working and employment conditions faced by migrant workers. Some of the issues auditors may wish to consider discussing include: wage payment delays, transparency in payments and deductions, loans and advances provided to workers, and savings programs facilitated by the facility or recruiter.

  • Are migrant workers paid directly by the facility? Who pays migrant workers’ salaries?
  • When and at what frequency are migrant workers paid?
  • Have wage payments for migrant workers ever been delayed or withheld by the facility or recruiter? Why and under what circumstances has this occurred?
  • Are migrant workers given a pay slip or wage statement on pay day? Does this pay slip clearly indicate wage calculations and any deductions made from their salary?
  • Are migrant workers paid at the same basic rate as local workers?
  • Are any deductions or withholdings made from migrant workers’ pay? How much is deducted and for what purpose? Are deductions withheld by the facility or the labor recruiter? Are deductions made with workers’ consent? Are they stipulated in workers’ contracts?
  • Does the facility deduct for meals or housing? Do migrant workers have the option to withdraw from employer-provided food and housing?
  • Are migrant workers ever paid in the form of non-cash or “in-kind” payments?
  • Does the facility or labor recruiter ever provide migrant workers with loans or advances on their wages? What are the terms of such loans or advances, including interest rates and financing periods? Are the terms of loan agreements and advances concluded with the full knowledge and consent of workers?
  • Does the facility or labor recruiter make deductions from workers’ salaries as part of a savings program? Are these deductions voluntary? How much are these deductions and where are they kept? When do workers receive their savings?
  • If savings are kept in a bank account, does the labor recruiter, facility or anyone other than the worker have access to withdraw these funds?
  • Do migrant workers have free access to their bank accounts? If no, under what circumstances can workers access their savings?

COMPULSORY OR INVOLUNTARY OVERTIME
Migrant workers may not be alone in facing requirements to work overtime, but they may be more vulnerable to the pressures and demands from facilities or labor recruiters to do so. Auditors should inquire whether overtime is regularly performed at the facility, and cross check this information through worker interviews and production records. They should speak with managers about facility policy on overtime; and whether and under what conditions workers are ever required to perform it. The key issue, in this case, is whether migrant workers are free to refuse overtime if they so desire, and that no threat or penalty, such as the threat and termination and repatriation, has been introduced to “persuade” them to accept it.

  • Does the facility ever require workers, including migrant workers, to work more overtime than allowed by national law? What are the circumstances of such requirements?
  • When overtime is necessary, are workers free to refuse it? Does the facility or labor recruiter ever punish workers for refusing overtime?

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND PERSONAL FREEDOM
In their interview with facility managers, auditors may wish to discuss a number of issues linked to migrant worker freedom of movement. These can include balancing basic personal freedoms with the requirements of workplace discipline, and restrictions that may face migrant workers living in a dormitory owned and operated by the facility or a labor recruiter. In each case, this information should be gathered from the facility and cross-checked with statements made by workers. The auditor may also wish to discuss other relevant concerns, such as the legal or security environment, insofar as these may influence the freedom of movement for migrant workers in particular jurisdictions or national contexts.

  • Does the facility or labor recruiter place any restrictions on migrant workers’ freedom of movement in the workplace? What are these restrictions and the reasons for them?
  • Are workers free to use toilet facilities and drinking stations at any time during working hours?
  • Does the facility or labor recruiter provide accommodation to migrant workers? Are migrant workers required to live in such facilities or are they free to reside elsewhere?
  • Do migrant workers pay for this accommodation? How much do they pay per month? Is the amount they pay commensurate to or lower than market rates? How do workers pay for this accommodation?
  • Are there any restrictions on movement for migrant workers within such accommodation or outside working hours? Does the residence have a curfew? Are workers allowed to receive guests or visitors?

WORKPLACE DISCIPLINE
Disciplinary measures and policies at the facility should be discussed by the auditor for a variety of reasons. In the case of migrant workers, it is essential to determine whether such measures are fair and objective, and whether disciplinary sanctions or punishments ever result in compulsory labor, for example for participation in a strike or other labor disputes. Auditors may also wish to discuss facility oversight of labor recruiter disciplinary practices in those cases where workers in the facility are in their direct employ.

  • What are the steps taken by the facility for disciplining a worker?
  • Who is responsible for workplace discipline in the facility? Are there any parties aside from facility management involved in disciplining workers, for example a labor recruiter representative on-site or in the country of origin, or a dormitory representative?
  • Is the facility or labor recruiter responsible for reporting migrant workers’ disciplinary citations?
  • Does the facility or labor recruiter levy monetary fines for misconduct? If so, for which offenses, how much, and how are payments for these fines made?
  • Do disciplinary sanctions ever involve compulsory work? If they do, under what circumstances does this occur?
  • What types of misconduct carry the penalty of dismissal and repatriation? Does the facility have a clear process that includes credible investigation before workers are terminated and repatriated?
  • What are the penalties if migrant workers quit before their contract expires? If this occurs, who pays for migrant workers’ return travel?
  • What are the penalties if migrant workers are terminated or fired before their contract expires? If this occurs, who pays migrant workers’ return travel?

THREAT OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION
Serious forms of abuse and exploitation such as verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassment, intimidation and corporal punishment should be strictly prohibited by the brand or supplier. This applies to all workers, including migrant and foreign contract workers. Auditors can take the opportunity of the management interview to discuss the facility’s policy on this matter, and any training that it has conducted for supervisors, managers and workers. They may also wish to discuss how this policy applies to and impacts labor recruiter operations.

  • What is the facility’s policy on the following:
      • Verbal abuse, harassment or intimidation?
      • Physical abuse, corporal punishment?
      • Sexual harassment or abuse?
  • Have there been any instances of such abuse in the facility or committed by a labor recruiter acting on the facility’s behalf?

WORKER COMMUNICATION, AWARENESS AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
Interviews with management can present auditors with an important opportunity to discuss the complaints mechanisms or grievance procedures they have established to ensure that migrant workers can raise issues of concern with regard to brand, supplier or labor recruiter practice. Such mechanisms and procedures are often the first line of defense in taking corrective action against abusive or exploitative circumstances. Auditors may wish to discuss the process of raising grievances and determine how transparent, trusted and effective they are in resolving problems for workers.

  • Does the facility or labor recruiter have a representative who receives and processes complaints of migrant workers? Does this representative speak the language(s) of migrant workers?
  • Does the facility have an assigned unit, staff, or worker representative to receive and process workers grievances?
  • What are the facility’s policies and procedures for addressing grievances and complaints from migrant workers, including complaints about labor recruiters?
  • Are migrant workers free to join trade unions?

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT
At the core of a free employment relationship is the ability of workers, including migrant workers, to terminate their employment contract at any time without penalty and given reasonable notice. Migrant workers, however, are often highly vulnerable to threats and penalties that can effectively prevent them from resigning from their positions, taking up a new job, or returning home. These threats or penalties can include the loss of previously earned wages, savings, security deposits, or passports that have been confiscated. Auditors should address these issues with facility management and seek to clarify the policies and practices that govern both facility and labor recruiter behavior.

  • What is the facility’s policy and procedure for resignation?
  • Are migrant workers free to resign at any time, given reasonable notice?
  • Are there any penalties for migrant workers who terminate their contract before its end-date? What are those penalties?
  • For migrant workers employed and managed by labor recruiters, what measures does the facility have in place to ensure that no deceptive or coercive means are used to restrict workers’ freedom to terminate employment?

 

TOOL 4: Conducting Interviews with Migrant Workers

This tool is designed as a set of sample interview topics for brands and social auditors to consider when conducting targeted migrant and foreign contract worker interviews. It is consistent with the code provisions and benchmarks provided in Section 1 of the Brand Toolkit and complementary to the management and labor recruiter interview topics provided elsewhere in this section. Brands can use this tool to help shape their own worker interview questionnaires, thus improving their auditors’ ability to identify possible cases of abuse or recruiter-induced forced labor.


RECRUITMENT AND HIRING
There are many stages in the recruitment and hiring process for migrant workers, and there may be many labor recruiters involved along the way. It is important for the auditor to discuss the recruitment and hiring process with migrant workers in order to better understand the process, actors, and circumstances involved in placing them at the facility. With every new recruiter’s involvement, another door is opened to the potential for abuse and malpractice. It is also important to discuss labor recruiter and facility orientation procedures to determine whether migrant workers are aware of key policies and procedures in the workplace and terms and condition of work before they start their job.

Here are some of the issues an auditor may wish to discuss with migrant workers:

  • How many labor recruiters were involved in migrant workers’ recruitment in the country of origin?
  • What is the name and address of each labor recruiter or agency involved in the country of origin?
  • At the time of recruitment, was the worker given accurate details about the job location, contract duration, anticipated earnings, working and employment conditions on the job, and living conditions?
  • Did the worker participate in a pre-departure orientation?
  • If yes, what did that orientation include? Did it review:
      • Contractual obligations;
      • Terms and conditions of work;
      • Rights and responsibilities on the job, and those of your employer;
      • Living conditions;
      • Company policies; and/or
      • Grievance mechanisms that are in place for the worker on the job?
  • When the worker arrived in the destination country, did s/he:
      • Receive accommodation;
      • Receive an orientation session at the facility;
      • Undergo a medical examination; and/or
      • Open a bank account?
  • Did the worker receive orientation on the facility’s personnel policies? If yes, what was addressed during the orientation?
      • Personnel policies;
      • Regular wages and hours;
      • Vacations, sick and personal leave;
      • Overtime hours and rates;
      • Grievance procedures;
      • Health and safety policies;
      • Benefits and deductions;
      • Discipline and termination; and/or
      • Harassment and abuse.
  • Was the worker given a copy of the facility personnel policies or employee handbook? If yes, was this handbook written in a language that the worker understands?
  • Are the facility policies, procedures and work instructions communicated to workers in language they understand?

CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT
Formal and signed contracts of employment between the worker and facility or labor recruiter are legally binding agreements and a pre-requisite to providing employment protection to migrant or foreign contract workers. They are a cornerstone to monitoring social compliance and essential to clarifying the employment relationship and its terms and conditions. For auditors, when assessing the recruitment and hiring of migrant workers, it is necessary not only to examine copies of these contracts to determine wage levels and other entitlements under the contract; it is also necessary to understand how and when the contract was signed, and under what conditions. Consider discussing these issues with workers as an important part of your own worker interviews:

  • Did the worker sign an employment contract for the job? If yes, with whom was the contract signed: the facility or the labor recruiter?
  • Were the terms of the employment contract explained to the worker? If yes, who explained these terms to the worker? Does the worker fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract? If no, what parts are not understood?
  • When and where was the contract signed (e.g. prior to departure or upon arrival at the facility)?
  • In what language is the contract written and does the worker understand that language?
  • Was the worker given a copy of the contract to review prior to signing? Once signed, was he or she given a copy of the signed contract?
  • Did the worker have to sign two sets of employment contracts? If yes, were both sets the same in content and, if no, how were they different? Were these differences explained to the worker, and what was the reason given?
  • Are the details contained in the worker’s employment contract consistent with the details that were provided at the time of recruitment? If not, what has changed?
  • Are the actual terms and conditions on the job consistent with those that are described in the employment contract?
  • Was the worker’s original contract amended in any way following signature? If yes, do these amendments improve or worsen the worker’s employment conditions? Were these amendments made with the worker’s prior knowledge and informed, written consent?
  • Was the worker pressured or threatened in any way into accepting the job or any of the terms included in the employment contract?
  • Under what conditions can the contract be renewed?

DOCUMENT RETENTION
Confiscating or withholding personal documents can be a form of coercion that leaves migrant workers highly vulnerable to forced labor. When labor recruiters or brand or supplier facilities take away workers’ passports, residency or work permits, personal identity documents, or even ATM cards, this not only limits their freedom of movement and personal freedom; it effectively binds them to that employer or labor recruiter, restricting their ability to terminate employment or leave the job without the threat of losing this valuable property. In many cases, it also means that the worker is not able to take up a new job, access social benefits to which they may be entitled and is vulnerable to deportation or detention by immigration authorities. It is essential that auditor address these issues in their interviews with migrant workers:

  • Did the worker submit any original copies of government-issued identification, passports or work permits to the facility or receiving country labor recruiter? If yes, what was submitted (e.g., passport, residency permit, work authorization, identity documents, ATM or bank card, or other travel documents, for example the return portion of travel tickets)? What was the reason for this?
  • Are personal documents withheld due to legal requirements or did the worker request the facility to hold them? If yes:
      • Do workers have free and unhindered access to their documents?
      • What is the procedure for getting the documents back?
      • Are workers given an exact copy of the document when it is not in their possession?
      • Does the facility or labor recruiter nominate a responsible person to ensure that workers have free access to their documents upon demand?
      • Were workers given advanced notice of these requirements and procedures?
      • Have workers ever encountered lengthy or otherwise burdensome prerequisites when accessing their passport or other personal documentation?
  • Do workers have free access to a locked, secure storage space for their personal documents and valuables?

DEPOSITS
So-called “security deposits” or “runaway insurance” are sometimes used by labor recruiters or employers to limit migrant workers’ ability to terminate employment and find a new job. This “fee” is typically paid up-front at the time of recruitment, and is kept until the contract has been fulfilled. If the worker terminates their employment prior to the contract’s end date, they run the risk of losing their money. Auditors should be aware of this abuse, and discuss it directly with workers. Here are some of the issues an auditor may want to consider:

  • Did the worker pay a deposit or bond of any kind during the recruitment process?
  • Has a fee or bond been paid by workers at any other time during the employment relationship?
  • If yes is answered to either of these questions:
      • How much was the fee paid?
      • To whom was it paid?
      • When does the worker expect to get the deposit back?
      • What are the conditions under which the amount is returned?

WAGES AND WAGE DEDUCTIONS
Auditing wage and salary payments can be one of the most complex and challenging aspects of a social audit. This is no less the case when assessing wage conditions facing migrant and foreign contract workers who are highly vulnerable to debt bondage resulting from withheld wage payments, excessive deductions from wages, or fraudulent practices with regard to advances and loans provided by the facility or labor recruiter. To address this complexity and establish a clear picture of migrant worker wage conditions, auditors may wish to consider discussing the following with workers:

  • Who pays migrant workers’ wages? Are they paid by the facility or the labor recruiter?
  • How are workers paid (e.g. hourly, daily or piece rate; in cash, check or direct deposit), and are they paid at the same rate as local workers?
  • Do workers receive their pay on time? Have wage payments, or any portion of wages, ever been delayed or withheld? If yes, what were the circumstances of this?
  • Do workers receive a pay slip or wage statement on payday? If yes, is this pay slip in a language they understand, and does it clearly indicate wage calculations and any deductions that are made from the worker’s salary?
  • Are any deductions made from the worker’s salary? If yes, how much is deducted and what for (e.g. meals, transportation, lodging, utilities, uniform, tools, other)? Are these deductions made with the worker’s knowledge and consent? Are workers requested to sign a document to authorize the deduction(s)?
  • Do workers ever receive wages in the form of non-cash or “in-kind” payments? If yes, what percentage of the wage has been paid in this way?
  • Has the worker ever received an advance on his or her wages or a loan from the facility or labor recruiter? If yes, what were the terms of this loan, including the interest rate and financing period? Have the terms of the loan ever been changed without the worker’s consent?
  • Does the worker participate in a savings program sponsored by the labor recruiter or facility? If yes, is this program voluntary? Do workers sign a written consent form to authorize deductions for voluntary savings? Where are workers’ savings kept? If savings are kept in a bank, do workers have free access to their bank account? When do workers get their savings back? Have workers experienced any difficulties in accessing their savings or getting them back?
  • Is there anyone else, apart from the worker, who has access to his or her bank account, for example through an ATM card or power of attorney? Has the worker ever authorized another person to access their account to make a withdrawal? If yes, who else has such access?
  • Does the facility or labor recruiter limit in any way the worker’s freedom to dispose of their wages as they see fit?

COMPULSORY OR INVOLUNTARY OVERTIME
Compulsory overtime is a key form of forced labor that all workers can be subject to, not only migrant and foreign contract workers. However, the latter may be at greater risk of this abuse because of their heightened vulnerability, and the many pressure points that brand or supplier facilities, or labor recruiters, may have to exploit their vulnerability. Addressing this issue should be central to all worker interviews; it is even more important for discussions with migrant workers.

  • How often do workers have to work overtime, and for what reasons?
  • Is overtime at the facility always voluntary? If no, what are the circumstances involving involuntary overtime?
  • Are workers free to refuse overtime without threat or fear of punishment? What happens if a worker refuses to work overtime?
  • Are workers given advance notice by the facility or labor recruiter when overtime is required?

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND PERSONAL FREEDOM
Restrictions on freedom of movement for migrant workers can exist in the workplace or in dormitories where they live. They can result from facility or labor recruiter policies; rules and regulations governing worker residences; the legal, regulatory or security environment; cultural norms or considerations; active threats, intimidation and harassment by a manager, labor recruiter, or security guard; and deceptive or hidden forms of coercion such as passport confiscation, which is addressed above. Some forms of restriction can be considered reasonable, such as policies relating to workplace discipline; while others are wholly unreasonable and highly abusive. To make sense of this complex issue, here are some of the topics that auditors may wish to discuss with workers concerning their freedom of movement and personal freedom:

  • Are there any restrictions on migrant workers’ freedom of movement in the workplace during working hours? If yes, what are these restrictions? Are they reasonable? Do security personnel ever restrict workers’ freedom of movement in the workplace for reasons other than workplace security?
  • Are workers ever restricted from or monitored when using the toilet facilities? Are they free to get drinking water whenever they wish?
  • Are workers free to perform religious obligations without restriction?
  • Are workers free to leave the workplace immediately after their shift? Are they able to get permission to leave the factory during work hours under reasonable circumstances? What is the procedure for requesting this permission (e.g. how many signatures are required to request a gate pass)?
  • If workers live in a dormitory provided or operated by the facility or labor recruiter, are they required to live there as a condition of recruitment or continued employment? Are workers free to leave the dormitory and reside elsewhere? Are they free to come and go as they please during non-working hours? If not, what are the restrictions on freedom of movement, and are they reasonable? Does the dormitory have a curfew? Are there any dormitory rules and regulations that unreasonably restrict workers’ personal freedom?

WORKPLACE DISCIPLINE
Disciplinary measures and, in particular, the penalty of dismissal and repatriation can be abused to threaten, take advantage of, and apply pressure on migrant workers. While some measures may be justified in reacting to misconduct, disciplinary measure should not result in compulsory labor or an obligation to work. It is important for the auditor to discuss disciplinary measures and determine that they are fair, objective, transparent, and communicated to workers in language they understand. Here are some of the issues auditors may wish to discuss:

  • What steps are taken for disciplining a worker?
  • What types of misconduct carry the penalty of dismissal and repatriation?
  • Is there a clear process that includes investigation before workers are terminated and repatriated?
  • Do workers feel that disciplinary practices are fair?
  • Are workers subject to punitive fines or deductions as a disciplinary measure?
  • Do deductions for tardiness or time missed ever exceed the wage equivalent of the time missed?
  • Do disciplinary measures ever involve forced or compulsory work as punishment for an workplace infraction?
  • Are workers ever forced to sign a letter of resignation?

THREAT OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION
Harassment, intimidation, and threats or use of violence can take many forms in the workplace or in facility – or labor recruiter-operated residences. They can be perpetrated by a supervisor, facility manager, recruiter representative, dormitory manager, security guard, or even a fellow worker at almost any stage of the employment relationship, including recruitment and hiring. The aim may be to frighten the worker or pressure them into accepting certain terms and conditions of employment or living conditions; or it may be to force them to work overtime or perform hazardous or life-threatening tasks. Whatever the case, there should be a zero tolerance policy in place to prevent such behavior, and migrant workers are a key potential source of information in determining facility or recruiter compliance with that policy. Auditors should consider discussing the following:

  • Have workers ever been subject to or witnessed verbal abuse, psychological harassment, intimidation, physical abuse, or sexual harassment? If yes, what happened, when and where did it happen, and who was involved? Is this abuse on-going? Was the incident(s) reported to facility management or the labor recruiter? What actions were taken to correct the abuse?
  • Are workers aware of factory policies and procedures for dealing with harassment and abuse complaints (e.g. reporting, investigation, follow-up, and sanctions)?
  • Does the facility conduct regular anti-harassment and abuse training for workers?

WORKER COMMUNICATION AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
An effective complaints mechanism and grievance procedure in the workplace that allows migrant workers to confidentially raise issues about labor recruiter or facility practices or the conditions they face in the workplace or dormitory is an important element in taking corrective action against abuse and exploitation. It is a key first step in remediating existing problems, and doing so at the level where problems exist. However, in many cases, grievance procedures may not even exists; they may not be effective, trusted or used by migrant workers; or they may only apply to the facility and not to labor recruiters, where significant forms of abuse may occur. In this case, it is important for auditors to investigate fully, and discuss with workers the options they have available to them to raise questions and complaints.

  • How are issues or complaints from migrant workers brought to the attention of the facility or labor recruiter?
  • Is there a representative who receives and processes complaints? If yes, what is the position of this representative? Does this person speak the language of migrant workers? Are workers comfortable bringing their complaints to this person?
  • Is there a mechanism in place for workers to raise a grievance with someone other than their direct supervisor?
  • Is there an anonymous procedure to report grievances? What means are in place to protect the identity of the worker reporting the grievance?
  • Are the responses to grievances and actions taken to address them communicated to workers? If so, what is the main method of communication?
  • Do workers feel that complaints and grievance procedures are effective?
  • Are workers free to join or form a trade union? Has the facility done anything, including interference or penalties, to prevent workers from joining or forming a union?

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT
The ability of migrant workers to terminate employment at any time without penalty and with reasonable notice is central to ensuring that they work in a free employment relationship. In speaking with migrants, auditors may wish to probe this issue, and seek to identify whether any limitations exist that prevent workers from terminating their contracts before they are finished.

  • Are migrant workers free to resign from their position without penalty prior to the end of their contract? If no, what are the penalties they face? Who pays for migrant workers’ return travel if they quit before their contract expires?
  • What is the required notice period for terminating a contract?
  • If the worker participates in a voluntary savings program facilitated by the employer or labor recruiter, does he or she have free access to all savings and monies owed at the time of contract termination?

 

TOOL 5: Conducting a Review of Documentation

A review of company and worker documentation is a core element of social auditing. Alongside interviews with management and workers, this review helps auditors to gain a clearer picture of working and employment conditions at the audited facility, shedding light on issues such as wage levels and deductions, working hours and any existing complaints and grievances raised by workers.

Auditors typically review a variety of documents. These include wage slips, company policies and procedures, contracts of employment, and all other files relevant to monitoring employment conditions face by workers in the facility. In auditing fair hiring and recruitment, this review is both deepened and extended. It is deepened to examine in greater detail the recruitment and employment conditions facing migrant workers; and it is extended beyond the facility and its immediate workforce, to include an essential review of labor recruiter operations and the workers that are recruited and managed by them. A fair hiring audit is a more thorough and comprehensive audit.

There are many steps that brands can take to integrate fair hiring principles into this stage of their audits. Below you will find a list of the documents you may want to review, along with an explanation of what to look for. This guidance is divided into two sections: first, the facility (brand or supplier) documents you can review; and second, the labor recruiter documents that are also important to examine.


DOCUMENTS FROM THE FACILITY

1. A copy of the signed contract between the facility and each labor recruiter that provides migrant workers to the facility.
Review the contract to ensure that obligations are specified on the following:

  • Services provided by the labor recruiter;
  • Expenses and fees covered by the facility and labor recruiter;
  • Recruitment fees;
  • Prohibition of forced labor and human trafficking;
  • Sanctions for non-compliance with contract terms relating to labor and human rights; and an
  • Itemized account and manner of deductions made by either the facility or the labor recruiter.

2. A complete list of all migrant and foreign contract workers in the facility.
When you review this list, make sure it includes the following information:

  • Full names and employee identification numbers of each worker;
  • Workstation department and work schedule and shift;
  • Date of hire;
  • Name of labor recruiter (both sending and receiving countries);
  • Home country address and contact information; and
  • Emergency contact information

3. A complete list of all labor recruiters providing workers to the facility, and other documentation.

For each recruiter, be sure to review the following:

  • Complete contact information;
  • Recruiter licensing and accreditation information;
  • Licensing and accreditation information for any sub-contractor or sub-agent used by the recruiter; and
  • Records of due diligence performed by the facility in screening and selecting labor recruiters.

4. All relevant facility policies and its operating procedures handbook.
A review of facility policies and procedures serves two basic functions: 1) it can help you identify the formal policy framework that has been adopted by the facility to address key labor issues relating to migrant workers; and 2) it can give you insight into the procedures developed by the facility to tackle human resource and other labor-related issues in the workplace. Review these materials – including human resource policies and codes of conduct – to evaluate their commitment to:

  • Prohibit forced labor and human trafficking, and all forms of deception and coercion in the recruitment, hiring and management of migrant workers;

  • Fair treatment for migrant workers with respect to:

      • Remuneration;
      • Hours of work;
      • Overtime arrangements;
      • Leave entitlements;
      • Membership in trade unions;
      • Accommodation; and
      • Benefits and social insurance.
  • Contract only with those labor recruiters that commit to charge no fees or expenses to workers for recruitment.

  • Prohibit the confiscation or withholding of worker passports or other valuable documents.

      • However, in the event that this is required by law or requested by workers, review facility procedures to ensure that a clear and transparent mechanism has been established to guarantee that workers have access to their valuables at any time upon demand.

  • Prohibit:

      • The collection of deposits, security payments or bonds at the time of recruitment and at any other time during the employment relationship;
      • Compulsory and involuntary overtime beyond the limit established by national law; and
      • Disciplinary sanctions that impose forced or compulsory work as a punishment for workplace infractions.
  • Human resource practices in recruitment, contracts of employment, wages, and working hours that minimize the risk of forced labor and human trafficking.

  • Guarantee worker freedom of movement and personal freedom in the management and operation of employer-operated residences.

  • Progressively establish an effective screening and selection process for contracting responsible labor recruiters that includes rigorous assessment tools and methodologies.

5. Personnel files of a representative number of migrant workers.
In reviewing the personnel files of migrant workers, make sure to collect the following information in addition to what you have reviewed in the complete list of migrant and foreign contract workers in the facility:

  • A copy of the worker’s passport or national identification card;
  • Name and contact information of the relevant labor recruiter;
  • Emergency contact information;
  • Disciplinary notices, if applicable; and the
  • Signed employment contract.

Review the employment contracts of each migrant worker to ensure that wage provisions meet legal or industry minimum standards. Contracts of employment should also:

  • Clearly state the circumstances in which workers can terminate their employment without penalty, given reasonable notice;

  • Specify the rights and responsibilities of workers with regard to:

      • Wages;
      • Hours of work;
      • Days off and annual leave; and
      • Disciplinary procedures that can result in termination.
  • Reveal no indications of contract substitution or the amendment of original contract provisions with those that are less favorable to the worker.

6. Personnel files of terminated migrant workers and those that have resigned.
Review the personnel files of terminated migrant workers and also those that have resigned. Be sure to document all of the above, with a particular view towards grievance and disciplinary procedures:

  • Personnel files of dismissed employees should include an accurate and detailed reason for dismissal, and severance pay documentation, where legally required.

  • Make sure these files reveal no evidence of violence, intimidation, harassment or verbal or physical threats and abuse in the workplace.

7. Wage slips and salary statements of migrant workers (see also the box provided below).

  • Review the wage slips or salary statements of migrant workers to ensure that:

      • Salaries correspond to the legal or industry minimum, and are commensurate to those of country nationals working in the same job or section; and
      • Wage calculations are made clearly and with transparency. There should be no evidence of unlawful or unauthorized deductions.
  • Review records relating to wage advances or loans provided to migrant workers. Make sure that:

      • They comply with the law;
      • Interest rates for their repayment are not excessive;
      • Repayment terms are fair; and that
      • Such records indicate advanced written agreement to the terms and conditions of the loan and its repayment signed by both parties.
  • Where facilities are required or requested by workers to remit their earnings, or part thereof, to a third party, review the relevant records to ensure that:

      • They indicate this is done with workers’ prior knowledge and full and voluntary consent; and that
      • Workers receive a receipt for the full amount remitted.

8. Facility training and orientation records.


DOCUMENTS FROM THE LABOR RECRUITER
Note: Labor recruiters may not be onsite during your audit of a particular facility. To ensure that you receive the documents you need to conduct a full review, consider contacting the recruiter prior to your site visit. Ask them to be ready to provide the following set of materials.

1. A copy of the labor recruiters’ license(s) to operate in the country where workers are recruited and where they are placed with the facility.

2. A copy of the signed contract between the labor recruiter and facility.

3. A complete list of migrant and foreign contract workers provided to the facility.
When you review this list, make sure it is consistent with that provided by the facility. It should include the following information:

      • Full name and employee identification number for each worker;
      • Workstation department and work schedule and shift;
      • Date of hire;
      • Name of labor recruiter (both in the sending and receiving country);
      • Home country address and contact information; and
      • Emergency contact information

4. A list of all sub-contractors or sub-agents used to provide workers to the facility.
A given labor recruiter operating in the receiving country and placing workers at the facility may, in fact, operate through an extensive network of sub-contracted labor recruiters or sub-agents located in either the sending or receiving country. It is important to ensure that each of these operates in full compliance with the law and respects the rights of workers they help to place. Through your review of documents, make sure to collect the following:

      • A copy of each sub-contractor’s or sub-agent’s license to operate in each jurisdiction from which they recruit workers;
      • Copies of the contracts signed between the labor recruiter and its sub-contractors and sub-agents;
      • The names and contact information for each sub-contractor and sub-agent; and
      • A list of the workers recruited by each sub-contractor.

Note: If the labor recruiter also acts as the formal employer or on-site manager of migrant workers, you will need to review documents relating to this function to gain insight into the human resources and other policies and practices of the recruiter. This has the potential to add an extra layer of complexity to the audit. A document review can help you sift through this complexity to establish whether migrant workers receive the protections they deserve.

5. Personnel files of a representative number of workers employed or managed by the labor recruiter.
Like the review of these files conducted with the facility, you should make sure to collect the following information in addition to what you have collected in the complete list of migrant and foreign contract workers provided by the labor recruiter:

      • A copy of worker passports or national identification cards;
      • Emergency contact information;
      • Disciplinary notices, if applicable; and the
      • Signed employment contract.

Review the employment contracts of each migrant worker to ensure that wage provisions meet legal or industry minimum standards. Contracts of employment should also:

  • Clearly state the circumstances in which workers can terminate their employment without penalty, given reasonable notice;

  • Specify the rights and responsibilities of workers with regard to:

      • Wages;
      • Hours of work;
      • Days off and annual leave; and
      • Disciplinary procedures that can result in termination.
  • Reveal no indications of contract substitution or the amendment of original contract provisions with those that are less favorable to the worker.

6. Personnel files of terminated workers and those that have resigned.
Review the personnel files of terminated migrant workers and also those that have resigned. Be sure to document all of the above, with a particular view towards grievance and disciplinary procedures:

  • Personnel files of dismissed employees should include an accurate and detailed reason for dismissal, and severance pay documentation, where legally required.

  • Make sure these files reveal no evidence of violence, intimidation, harassment or verbal or physical threats and abuse in the workplace.

7. All relevant labor recruiter policies and its operating procedures handbook.
Like the review of facility policies and procedures, a similar review of labor recruiter operations serves two basic functions: 1) to help the auditor identify the formal policy framework and standards that guide labor recruiter behavior with regard to the rights and protections of migrant workers; and 2) to give insight into the practices and procedures adopted by the recruiter, on its own or in co-operation with the facility, to address human resource and other issues in the workplace. Review recruiter policies and procedures – including their code of conduct provisions – with a view to the following:

  • Labor recruiter records should indicate that the company has an implementing structure, an accountable officer and clear procedures to ensure that policies are compliant with all relevant legislation and regulation.

  • Labor recruiter policies should clearly prohibit all forms of forced labor, human trafficking, and deception and coercion in the recruitment, hiring and management of migrant workers. They should further ensure that migrant workers are treated no less favorably than country nationals with respect to:

      • Remuneration;
      • Hours of work;
      • Overtime arrangements;
      • Leave entitlements;
      • Membership in trade unions;
      • Accommodation; and
      • Benefits and social insurance.
  • Labor recruiter policies and procedures should also:

      • Clearly indicate that no fees or expenses are charged to workers for job placement services;
      • Prohibit the confiscation or withholding of workers’ passports or other valuable documentation, unless required by law or requested voluntarily by workers;
      • Prohibit compulsory or involuntary overtime beyond the limits established by law, or a maximum of 12 hours per week where the law is silent on the issue;
      • Ensure that no unreasonable restrictions are levied to limit migrant workers’ freedom of movement and personal freedom; and
      • Prohibit disciplinary sanctions that impose forced or compulsory work as a punishment for workplace infractions.
  • Human resource practices of the recruiter with respect to recruitment, employment contracts, wages and working hours should indicate measures adopted to minimize the risk of forced labor and trafficking in persons.

  • Written procedures should establish ethical practice in providing job-seekers with accurate details of working conditions at the time of recruitment, and that these details are communicated in language job-seekers understand. They should also prohibit recruiters or sub-contractors working on their behalf from making false promises concerning employment conditions, in particular regarding wage expectations.

  • Operating guidelines should further indicate that the labor recruiter has established an effective mechanism for confidential reporting of non-compliance, a grievance procedure, a process of investigating and reporting complaints, protection for whistleblowers, and an effective remediation procedure in the case of verified non-compliance.

8. Wage slips and salary statements (see also the box provided below).

  • Review the wage slips or salary statements of migrant workers employed or managed by labor recruiters to ensure that:

      • Salaries correspond to the legal or industry minimum, and are commensurate to those of country nationals working in the same job or section; and
      • Wage calculations are made clearly, with transparency, and there is no evidence of unlawful or unauthorized deductions.
  • Review records relating to wage advances or loans provided to migrant workers, if applicable. Make sure that:

      • They comply with the law;
      • Interest rates for their repayment are fair;
      • Repayment terms are fair;
      • The repayment period does not exceed the term of the employment contract; and that
      • Such records indicate advanced written agreement to the terms and conditions of the loan and its repayment signed by both parties.
  • Where labor recruiters are required or requested by workers to remit their earnings, or a part thereof, to a third party, review relevant records to ensure that:

      • This is done with workers’ prior knowledge and full and voluntary consent; and
      • Workers receive a receipt for the full amount remitted.

9. Labor recruiter training and orientation records.

  • These records should indicate that – prior to departure and upon arrival – workers received basic orientation and training on:

      • Their rights and responsibilities on the job as well as those of their employer, whether this is the labor recruiter or the facility;
      • Contractual obligations;
      • Terms and conditions of employment;
      • Living conditions; and
      • Grievance procedures that are in place for workers should they encounter a problem.

In Focus

Auditing Wages
Analyzing pay documents can be the most complex, time-consuming aspect of an audit. However, this review, combined with worker interviews, is the only way to determine whether workers’ pay meets legal and contractual obligations. A thorough analysis of pay systems should include:

  • A representative number of pay slips;
  • Payroll documents;
  • Time cards; and
  • Any other relevant material for wage calculation for each worker.

Once you have assembled these documents, attempt to determine if paid wages are legally and in agreement with the employment contracts signed by workers.

Some tips can help you in this task:

  • Be sure to differentiate base wage from gross or net when calculating;
  • Ensure that you apply the correct minimum wage rate according to region, type of factory and skill level of the worker;
  • Randomly select a representative sample size of migrant workers from the list provided by the brand or supplier facility and/or labor recruiter, and analyze their payroll records. The sample should represent all categories of migrant workers from all sections in the facility.

What to look for:

  • Verify from corresponding time cards and attendance records that all hours and days worked are recorded on the payroll.
  • Check the rate of overtime compensation and determine if it is legal.
  • Verify that workers were paid the legal overtime rate for overtime hours worked.
  • Check that only legally mandated deductions are made.
  • Check whether all workers have signed to indicate they have received their wages. If any worker has not signed, inquire why.
  • Check sample pay slips to check that all relevant information is provided.
  • Review the files of terminated or resigned workers and determine whether they were properly compensated.

 


 

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