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Working conditions


As an employer, you are required to provide good working conditions for your employees. There are ample reasons for businesses to provide good working conditions: motivated employees, less sickness, fewer employees incapacitated, lower staff turnover, a better reputation and more efficient production. But what do ‘good working conditions’ entail and what aspects should you consider?

Good working conditions

If you want to create good working conditions, you should consider the following aspects:

  • an acceptable level of pay - see the brochure Living Wage (PDF)
  • no violence at work - see the brochure Violence @ work (PDF)
  • employee training
  • healthcare
  • freedom of association
  • collaborating with employee organisations
  • respect for religion and culture of employees
  • contributions to or provision of food and accommodation
  • provision of education for children of employees
  • no discrimination
  • no child- forced- or compulsory labour
  • paying attention to employee health and safety at work
  • hiring and training local staff, where possible
  • establishing open communication with employees, particularly in case of profound changes
  • no threatening or pressuring of staff

International standards

As an entrepreneur, you are aware that national laws are not always respected. We often see this in emerging markets. National legislation may also not be as stringent as the ILO standards in some cases. As a result, it is all the more important to bear the ILO standards in mind.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has developed a number of basic principles (conventions) with regard to working conditions. These are used to review the conduct of businesses. The issues concern the right to organise and the right to collective bargaining, as well as protection against child labour, forced labour, and discrimination. They are further supplemented by a number of codes regarding working hours, rates of pay and employment agreements. The most important ILO standards and recommendations are included in the Tripartite Declaration of Principles.

OECD Guidelines on Working Conditions

If you use Netherlands Enterprise Agency's subsidies and funding programmes, you must adhere to the OECD Human Rights Guidelines.

More information about good working conditions

The standards mentioned below will help you to create good working conditions. They include curbing child labour, representing collective interests, and monitoring health and safety at work.

• SA 8000
• ISO 45001
• Amfori
• Fair Trade
• Ethical Trading Initiative