Working Conditions

Last checked on:
10 April 2024
Published on:
12 August 2019

Employers must provide good working conditions for their employees. There are many reasons for organisations to provide good working conditions: well-motivated employees, less sick leave, fewer employees incapacitated, a lower staff turnover, a better reputation and more efficient production. But what do 'good working conditions' involve, 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
  • no violence at work - see the brochure Violence @ work
  • 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 - see the document Lessons Learned
  • paying attention to employee health and safety at work
  • hiring and training local staff, where possible
  • establishing open communication with employees, especially in the case of important changes
  • no threatening or pressuring staff

International standards

As an entrepreneur, you may notice that national laws are not always respected. This often happens in emerging markets. National legislation may also not be as strict as the International Labour Organization (ILO) standards in some cases. As a result, we must always think of the ILO standards when doing business abroad.

The International Labour Organization has developed a number of basic principles on working conditions. These principles aim to review business conduct. Issues concern the right to organise and collective bargaining, protection against child labour, forced labour, and discrimination. They are further supplemented by a number of codes on working hours.

The most important ILO standards and recommendations are included in the Tripartite Declaration of Principles and the ILO Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work.

You may also find these standards and recommendations in the OECD Working Conditions Directive. The ILO has also integrated a Decent Work Agenda on sustainable development goal (SDG) 8: decent work and economic growth.

OECD Guidelines on Working Conditions

If you use our subsidies and funding programmes, you must follow the OECD Human Rights Guidelines for multinational enterprises. In the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, you may find information on:

More information about good working conditions

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

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

Child labour

Read our longread on child labour.

Commissioned by:
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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