Employment and overtime
Varner requires all workers in the supply chain to be in a form of employment that’s regulated by a formal contract. This employment contract has to include information about the employment terms; pay, working hours, notice periods and other aspects that have to be regulated. The length of employment must also be indicated clearly in the contract; a permanent position, a part-time position or a temporary position for a shorter, specified period.
“We also keep an eye on what benefits workers receive, and make sure this is followed up in view of their contracts,” says Vegard. “These benefits may include maternity leave, overtime pay, contributions to social security schemes and fair wage settlement if their employment is terminated.”
A lot of overtime work can present a challenge at times when factories have lots of orders that they need to complete. Varner carries out regular inspections at the factories that we work with so as to keep track of the use of overtime. We also follow up on documentation and carry out supplier surveys.
“We’ve taken action to prevent our purchasing practices creating pressure on overtime in production,” explains Vegard. “These measures include booking capacity at the factories early on and placing orders at times when the factories have less to do. This is something we have to work on constantly, an area where we can develop and become even better.”
Find out more about how we approach this risk area under Purchasing Practice on pages 47 to 49 in Varner Sustainability Report 2021.
Discrimination and women’s rights
Varner regulates requirements for and expectations of suppliers by contract; and one of these conditions is that all workers and employees must be treated the same. Vegard explains that the starting point differs depending on the country, and that cultural factors have a major part to play.
“The markets in which we operate present challenges in respect of equal treatment regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity. We want to work with suppliers and partners to create awareness of this issue and find ways to resolve it. Women are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, harassment and gender-based violence.”
To address these challenges, Varner is working in partnership with various organisations working to promote women’s rights in the workplace, including Social Awareness and Voluntary Education (SAVE) in India and the Joint Ethical Trading Initiative (JETI) in Bangladesh.
Find out more about the company’s work on discrimination and women’s rights in the textile industry.
Would you like to know more about Varner’s work with clothing production, sustainability and the environment? In the Varner Sustainability Report 2022, the Varner Sustainability Report 2021 and the Varner Sustainability Report 2020 you will find everything you need to know, and a bit more.
You can also send an email directly to [email protected] if there’s anything else you’d like to know about how we work with sustainability.