Who will set the standard for what is considered fair and just? Many organizations attempt to define workers’ rights, and these definitions, guidelines, and codes need to undergo occasional scrutiny to keep apace with developments in labor policy.
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) began in 1999 to bring together companies, colleges and universities, and civil society organizations to improve working conditions in factories around the world. Since its beginnings, the FLA has struggled to change working conditions by holding companies accountable to their Workplace Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct created a practical monitoring, remediation and verification process to achieve higher standards in the workplace.
Now the Board of Directors of the Fair Labor Association has strengthened its standards. Some of the adaptations involve recruitment.
The new Code of Conduct requires companies to establish human resource management policies and procedures along the entire factory employment lifecycle, from recruitment and hiring to terms and conditions of employment, administration of compensation, work rules and discipline, and termination and retrenchment. Part of this will protect workers when companies choose to use an outside employment agency.
This new set of expectations also holds companies more responsible for the environment and sets limits on regular weekly hours of work. The new standards also consider the effect a workplace can have on one’s sense of mental health and safety by banning the use or threat of psychological abuse.