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Homeworking Policy

Homeworking is a valuable and at times essential part of the supply chain, providing specialist components and flexibility in reaction to production demands.  In addition, the opportunity to work off site can offer advantages to the workers, enabling paid work to be balanced with domestic and family responsibilities.  However, homeworkers can be among the most vulnerable and marginalised workers in any supply chain.  

The below is intended as additional guidance to assist suppliers in ensuring compliance to the InTheStyle Code of Conduct in regards to any homeworkers in their supply chain.

It is vital that any homeworker is declared in advance to, and approved by In The Style. Suppliers must have accurate mapping of the contractors used to distribute homeworking, and the general location and number of workers involved; suppliers and factories must document communication of the InTheSyle ethical policy to these contractors and should nominate a senior manager responsibility for monitoring the conditions against the code.

Where workers are paid according to output, manufacturers must agree prices with contractors based on a clear and documented work time study which include sufficient provision for workers to be paid at least the legal minimum wage. 

All documentation on contractors, code agreements, workers location and costing models should be available for review upon request.

The definition of homework is based upon the International Labour Organisation (ILO) 

the term homework means work carried out by a person, to be referred to as a homeworker,

  • in his or her home or in other premises of his or her choice, other than the workplace of the employer;
  • for remuneration;
  • which results in a product or service as specified by the employer, irrespective of who provides the equipment, materials or other inputs used, unless this person has the degree of autonomy and of economic independence necessary to be considered an independent worker under national laws, regulations or court decisions
  • persons with employee status do not become homeworkers within the meaning of this Convention simply by occasionally performing their work as employees at home, rather than at their usual workplaces;

The term employer means a person, natural or legal, who, either directly or through an intermediary, whether or not intermediaries are provided for in national legislation, gives out homework in pursuance of his or her business activity.

  • Employment is freely chosen.
    • Homeworkers must not be subjected to forced or bonded labour.
    • They must be carrying out homework on a voluntary basis.
    • Wages should not be withheld or delayed, and homeworkers should not be forced to work to pay off debts.
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected.
    • Homeworkers have the right to establish or join organisations and trade unions of their own choosing, to participate in the activities of such organisations, and to engage in collective bargaining on issues related to their work.  This should be facilitated at a local level.
    • Homeworker representatives, or those organising homeworkers, should not be discriminated against.
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic.
    • A safe and hygienic work environment should be provided, taking into consideration existing knowledge of the industry and any specific hazards.
    • Adequate steps should be taken to prevent accidents and injury to homeworkers arising out of their work, by minimising the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment, and enhancing their health and wellbeing.
    • Homeworkers should receive regular and recorded health and safety training.
    • A senior management representative should be assigned responsibility for health and safety of homeworkers.
  • Child labour shall not be used.
    • Have in place policies and programmes which provide for the transition of any child found to be performing child labour to enable her or him to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child, inline with the InTheStyle Child Labour, Remediation and Young Worker Policy
    • Children and young persons under 18 should not be working at night.
  • Living wages are paid.
    • Homeworkers should be paid rates equivalent to or greater than the minimum wage defined in national legislation or industry benchmark standards, whichever is the higher, for all work carried out.
    • Where there is no minimum wage defined for homework, the rates should be equivalent to the minimum wage defined for a factory worker doing the same task.
    • Homeworkers should be paid promptly and given an itemised pay slip indicating the piece rate of pay and the amount, cause and nature of deductions.  Where possible, homeworkers should be given a clear written agreement of terms and conditions of employment.
  • Working hours are not excessive.
    • Homeworkers should be made aware of the hazards of excessive work.
    • Homeworkers should not be forced to work more hours than they wish and should never be coerced into working excessive hours.
    • Working hours and production output should be recorded to allow confirmation that minimum wage rates are being met and that working hours are not excessive.
  • No discrimination is practised.
    • There is no discrimination in offering homework based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation as stated.
    • Homeworkers shall not be offered lower rates of pay than factory workers doing the same work.
  • Regular employment is provided.
    • Homeworkers should be afforded the same social security benefits and holiday/maternity pay, etc, comparable to other workers, even where these are not a statutory requirement for homeworkers.
    • Wherever possible, a regular supply of work should be provided.
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.
    • Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.
    • This includes any form of coercion related to work at the household level.