Social Compliance in Indian Garment Industry
Indian apparel trade and compliance standards
The Indian apparel industry is working with an objective of reaching 7.5 billion by the end of 2012, a figure that is almost double the size of the last profit calculated by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
With the increasing globalisation, a lot of importance has been placed on internationally recognised compliance standards in the garment industry. Factories involved in the international trade must keep a proper check of the garment factory compliance at regular intervals. Therefore, every apparel export business needs to have adequate understanding of compliance guidelines for foreign trade.
Why code of ethics is required
The code of ethics is all about the quality of the products from the factory and the working environment that should meet the requirements of audits and inspections. An individual running an export business needs to follow these ethics sincerely. These ethics are required for:
- Increasing national competitiveness in terms of social compliance
- Increasing competitiveness of small scale manufacturers
- Reducing burden on manufacturers
Some of the compliance codes in Indian garment industry are listed below.
Working hour & wage rate compliance
- Garment factory must ensure that employees should get atleast minimum wages according to the domestic law and as per the time spent by them in the industry
- Employer should pay equal wages to both men and women employees, for performing the same work or work of a similar nature
- Worker employed for more than nine hours on any day or for more than 48 hours in any week, shall be entitled to wages at premium legal rates for such overtime work
- Every worker should be given one holiday (for a period of 24 consecutive hours) in a week. Whenever a worker is required to work on a weekly holiday, he is to be allowed a compensatory holiday for each holiday so lost
- Every worker is to be allowed at least half an hour rest interval after a maximum working of 5 hours at a stretch
Workplace & work environment compliance
- Organisations should ensure proper ventilation, sufficient light and air to provide the employees with standard work environment
- Indian garment industries should provide the workers with comfortable sitting chair with back support and proper leg space
- Organisations should not discriminate employees on the basis of physical characteristics, beliefs and cultural characteristics. All the terms and conditions of employment should be based on an individual’s ability to do the job. They should provide equal employment opportunities for all employees and associates irrespective of the employees’ race, color, religion, age, sex, creed, national origin, marital status, etc.
Social compliance in India
The demand for social compliance is increasing day-by-day. However, we can attain a robust compliance system only when the workers are provided with an equal platform to voice their concern and have consultative mechanism at the workplace.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council of India (AEPC), an apex body of Indian apparel exporters, provides all social compliance services to meet international global standards. The council also trains and guides factories to upgrade the workplace conditions and labour standards.