Rest, leisure time and holidays


If you believe that there is an increased risk of your suppliers not respecting their employees' right to rest, leisure time and holidays, and you wish to include this area in the annex to your Code of Conduct, you can add the following requirements to your Code of Conduct by clicking on "Save to clipboard".

Overtime is a major challenge for many suppliers, not least due to large companies' procurement practices. 

Right to rest, leisure and paid holiday

In respecting this right, the supplier should see the following as essential steps:

a. Maintaining a maximum of 6 days of work every 7 days, not to regularly exceed 48 hours of work per week with overtime not exceeding 12 hours per week. In situations where the business is under extraordinary pressure and only for short periods of time, strive to limit work hours to 80 hours every 6 days if agreed to by the worker;

b. Allowing workers in certain work environments (such as construction, utilities and exploration), to voluntarily work additional hours beyond those referenced above;

c. Compensating for overtime at a rate higher than the normal hourly wage rate or providing time off in lieu thereof where permitted;

d. Striving to provide employees with at least three weeks of paid leave per year, subject to requisite seniority, collective bargaining and other relevant considerations.

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Below there is more information on various aspects of rest, leisure time and holidays:

Working hours and breaks
Many Codes of Conduct do not mention working hours, even though very long working weeks are one of the biggest problems faced by employees in many countries. The supplier should impose reasonable limits to working hours in order to give employees sufficient time for rest and leisure. 

Under ILO standards, the working week should not exceed 48 hours for both commercial and industrial companies, while the number of working hours per day should be limited to ten hours for commercial companies and eight hours for industrial companies. The ILO restrictions may only be exceeded in special circumstances. When you and your supplier apply the ILO standards, you should examine the applicable national legislation for exemptions, as the individual countries are responsible for stipulating exemptions from the 48-hour rule. 

Overtime should be voluntary and may not exceed 12 hours per week. Even where national legislation limits the working week to less than 48 hours, overtime should still be limited to 12 hours per week. Overtime may not occur on a regular basis. This means that the supplier may only increase the number of working hours to meet unforeseen, infrequent, short-term business needs. 

In addition to these limitations to the weekly working hours, the ILO also requires a minimum of 24 hours' continuous rest for each 7-day working period. The ILO does not state rules for the number of breaks to which employees are entitled during the course of the working day. But if the host country has not determined the number and scheduling of breaks, it is proposed that employees must be entitled to one half-hour break for every four hours' work, in order to eat, stretch and rest. If the work is arduous or monotonous, employees should have more frequent breaks, especially where this is necessary to prevent injuries caused by fatigue or monotonous and repetitive work. 

The supplier should grant paid annual holiday to all employees, and grant sick pay in accordance with the rules laid down by the authorities in the host country. The ILO standards require that all employees are entitled to at least three weeks' paid holiday a year. 

Other relevant information

ILO Convention no. 132 concerning annual holidays with pay stipulates that an employee is entitled to minimum three weeks’ annual paid holiday. If a person is employed for a period of less than one year, the holiday entitlement must be calculated on a pro rata basis according to the term of employment. This Convention stipulates that how long a person must be employed before earning the right to holiday with pay will depend on national law. The Convention sets a maximum, however, whereby this period may not exceed six months. 

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