Employer’s approach to ethical and sustainable work practices

Information for employers to help you ensure you are treating employees fairly and respecting their employment rights.

What you must do

As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees' rights are respected.

If you are a labour on-hire or temping agency and your worker is working in a client’s business, it’s still your responsibility to see that your employees are treated fairly in the workplace.

Minimum rights of employees

Employers who treat their workers unfairly by failing to respect their employment rights gain an unfair and unsustainable competitive advantage. This creates risks for both their own business and their industry that include:

  • losing access to markets – some countries or sectors may not want to trade with businesses that have bad work practices
  • damaging the business' and product’s brand reputation through negative word-of-mouth, and publicity on social and traditional media
  • missing out on investment because investors might not want to associate with businesses that have bad employment practices
  • being unable to attract potential employees
  • not achieving the business’ potential for productivity
  • being subject to enforcement action, for example, financial penalties and being banned from hiring migrant labour
  • creating unfair competition within industries entrenching poor business models
  • developing an environment where the local workforce becomes disengaged
  • negatively impacting the health, safety and wellbeing of the workforce.

Legal consequences employers could face

Businesses that do not comply with employment standards can face legal consequences. These include having to pay unpaid wages and holiday pay, infringement fines and penalties. Consequences for serious breaches can include penalties, having to compensate someone for harm and being banned from hiring staff.

Labour Inspectorate complaints

Identifying and minimising non-compliance

You can take steps to identify and minimise labour rights risks and issues of non-compliance in your business.

Identify and minimise labour rights issues in your business

Businesses wanting to identify and eliminate labour rights risks in their supply chains, or their own procurement, should find out whether they comply with employment standards.

Identify and minimise labour rights issues in your supply chains [PDF, 248 KB] [PDF, 934 KB]

Procurer’s approach to ethical and sustainable work practices

Responding to modern slavery requests

If your business is part of a larger supply chain or is an exporter, you may receive requests from customers or your industry to show what you are doing to identify and mitigate modern slavery in your business and supply chain.

One way to prepare for this is by developing a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and responses. Mekong Club has guidance on developing FAQs, including a set of sample questions. 

Modern Slavery and SMEs – Mekong Club(external link)

Procurer’s approach to ethical and sustainable work practices

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