Tools for measuring workers’ wages

At Fair Wear, we take a unique process-based approach to living wages through three key factors.

The Wage Increase Cycle: spiralling upwards for continuous wage improvements

Fair Wear’s Wage Increase Cycle

We understand that wage improvements will only happen through the right process, which is why our approach focuses on a tool we call the ‘Wage Increase Cycle’. We developed this tool in 2017 to help a wide range of brands tackle wage improvements with their suppliers. Workers need to be involved throughout the cycle, ideally through collective bargaining.

The Wage Increase Cycle looks at three phases of brand activity, addressing the relationship between buying prices and wages, the need for sufficient budget, and making sure the money is going to the right place. In this cycle, it is important that workers are involved in every step, which is why they are placed at the centre of the cycle.

The Wage Increase Cycle is designed for brands to move through repeatedly, with their contributions to higher wages increasing with each cycle.

Brands’ contributions to higher wages should increase with each revolution around the Wage Increase Cycle

Brand Performance Check: wage improvements in all stages of production

We understand the importance of brands being transparent and also accountable to the people who make their clothes. We monitor how they’re doing through an annual ‘Brand Performance Check’, with special attention to their efforts to raise workers’ wages. Our scoring system evaluates their progress, and we report brand scores publicly.

There are five things we check related to a brand’s efforts in improving wages. This includes the extent to which Fair Wear members know how their prices link to wages; how they respond to cases where living wages (and minimum wages) are not paid; whether prices are enough to cover living wage costs; and the degree to brands are ensuring they are paying their share of a higher wage in all stages of garment production.