A renewed commitment to fair, transparent and timely wage payments and wage setting mechanisms

The ILO promotes the setting of adequate wages that consider both the needs of workers and their families, and economic factors. The setting of adequate wages is an essential mechanism to enable decent living standards and incomes for women and men workers and their families, while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of enterprises which create the jobs for these workers.


Low wages and excessive overtime are still among some of the biggest challenges workers face in the apparel and footwear industry worldwide. Concerns about compensation represent a significant issue across our country programmes, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current economic downturn, and are also related to factory disputes, which might result in strikes and unannounced work stoppages, severely affecting production. Since its inception, Better Work has relentlessly worked to support fair, transparent and timely wage payments for all workers in the garment sector. 

There are several elements of this thematic priority that are essential to ensure decent work for all, such as strengthening data to inform evidence-based wage setting mechanisms, including through wage negotiation in collective bargaining agreements; measures to promote equal pay for work of equal value between men and women; and wage protection measures which ensure the predictable, timely, complete and transparent payment of wages.

Better Work has demonstrated how better compliance with minimum wage and overtime payments can lead to an increase in take-home pay for workers along with a decrease in their working hours, following a few years of engagement with the programme. This impact increases overtime in parallel with a factory’s years of participation in the Better Work programme.

Wages – both their actual rate and predictability – significantly affect worker wellbeing. Better Work’s experience and studies show that the wellbeing of workers improves substantially when they are less concerned about wage deductions, in-kind compensation, excessive overtime and believe pay practices are transparent. 

Better Work is currently collaborating with other ILO units, as well as global and national partners, to elaborate its action plan for this area of work. 

Better Work’s current Strategic Phase: Sustaining our impact in 2022-27 and beyond

Strategic Priorities

Better Work five-year strategy (2022-27) embraces innovation around a set of strategic priorities to adapt to the needs of the garment and footwear industry around the world.


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