Better Work’s Global Compliance Assessment Tool (CAT)

5 Jun 2023

Better Work’s Compliance Assessment Tool (CAT) is used by Better Work Enterprise Advisors to assess compliance with core international labour standards and national labour law.

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The CAT covers the following areas:

Core International Labour Standards:

These standards cover the fundamental principles and rights at work, and are drawn from the eight core ILO conventions. They are largely consistent across the country programmes, however, for some issues, such as minimum legal working age, national law specifies requirements for a convention’s application. The fundamental principles and rights at work cover:

  • Child Labor
  • Discrimination
  • Forced Labor
  • Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

National Labour Laws:

Standards are drawn from each country’s national labour law. Where national law either fails to address or lacks clarity around a relevant issue regarding conditions at work, Better Work establishes a benchmark based on international standards and good practices. Areas assessed include:

  • Compensation
  • Contract and Workplace Relations
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Working Time

The structure of the CAT has three levels:

Level 1: Clusters (four on core international labour standards and four on working conditions)

Level 2: Compliance Points (each cluster comprises a set of compliance points)

Level 3: Questions (each compliance point has a set of associated questions).

The first two levels—clusters and compliance points—are set globally. The third level consists of questions that reflect the local context. This classification structure allows for a consistent approach globally, while ensuring that questions address compliance with national legal requirements and established benchmarks.

Enterprise assessments are conducted annually and form the basis of a comprehensive improvement plan for each factory. The detailed findings of these factory-level assessments are shared with the factory owner, who may also allow Better Work to share the assessment reports with the factory’s international buyers. Better Work also produces national compliance synthesis reports, which include aggregate data from enterprise assessments on non-compliance findings and compliance effort

The program does not assess whether national law conforms to ILO conventions, which is the responsibility of the ILO supervisory bodies. In some countries where Better Work operates, national law is not in line with core international labour standards. In such circumstances, participating enterprises are assessed on their compliance with the international labour standards as set out in the ILO Core Conventions.

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