Our ‘Fair Working Hours Guide’ helps brands identify the root causes of excessive overtime in their supply chain. While excessive overtime is a structural problem in the garment industry and often comes back in audit reports, until recently little concrete guidance existed to help brands mitigate this. 

Excessive overtime is strongly linked to other elements of Fair Wear’s Code of Labour Practices (CoLP). Workers are sometimes in favour of working (excessive) overtime to earn a higher income, as their base wages fall far below most living wage benchmarks. 

The dangerous effects of excessive overtime

Excessive overtime does not only violate the right to decent working hours itself, but also denies workers’ rights to a safe and healthy workplace. The more excessive overtime hours are worked, the higher the chance of accidents in the workplace. Fatigue will lead to other health and wellbeing related issues. Next to that, increased pressure from buyers during peak time is linked to increased (sexual) harassment on the work floor. The risk of experiencing violence and harassment is higher when women work longer overtime. 

What is the Fair Working Hours Guide?

The guide is meant for brands and suppliers. To identify root causes of excessive overtime in their supply chain, brands can evaluate production processes and known occurrences of excessive overtime with all internal departments, their suppliers and worker representatives. Once root causes of overtime are known, the company can browse the guide and check what solutions, processes and tools are linked to a particular root cause. At the same time, suppliers can use the guide in conversations with its buyers regarding excessive overtime, and point out where the buyer’s practices may hinder fair working hours. 

As such, the guide falls under the fourth strategic direction and contributes to Fair Wear’s work “on developing tools and guidance to help brands follow up on problems identified in their supply chain”. 

Webinar on Fair Working Hours Guide (5th November, 2021)

Fair Wear members react to the Fair Working Hours Guide

Very impressive, congratulations! It’s the best explanation of management on overtime I have ever seen!’ -Mammut

This is exactly the guidance we need, and that we do not receive anywhere else. It’s comprehensive enough to fit all types of business. The guidance also makes it very explicit what the role is of other departments and it helps for CSR department to convince them to improve their practices. This guidance leaves no excuses to not deal with excessive overtime. Very good job, very impressive!‘ – Deuter