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Advancing decent work and raising the living standards of all workers across operations and supply chains require all companies to adopt sustainable, responsible and inclusive workplace practices, and for companies with supply chains to use their leverage with suppliers to contribute to the realization of decent work globally.

Decent work is good for society and for business. Promoting employment and ensuring decent work for all can have a tremendous impact on individuals and communities. Benefits include:

  • Improved living standards.
  • With work being the main source of income, creating jobs can increase material well-being, family stability, and create a virtuous cycle of poverty reduction.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Jobs allow for the production of goods and services in the economy and the transition from low to high productivity has proven to lead to economic growth for society as a whole.
  • Social cohesion.

Unemployment and poor working conditions breed frustration and a sense of social injustice. Promoting employment and decent jobs helps build public trust and encourages civic engagement, especially as employment helps fight social isolation. When people are engaged in a decent job and enjoy labour rights, they feel part of the community.

Businesses hold a special responsibility in the promotion of decent work. Here are some examples of what businesses can do:

  • Step up their due diligence on human rights to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for all adverse impacts on workers in their operations and value chains, which will help tackle human rights and labour rights issues as well as decent work deficits.
  • Demonstrate respect for labour rights and advance decent work by making ambitious commitments to improve the lives of workers and taking action to translate policies into practices, including in their supply chains.
  • Institute non-discriminatory practices and embrace diversity and inclusion which will lead to greater access to skilled, productive talent.
  • Respect the right of workers to organize and enhance industrial relations in the workplace to help to facilitate the development of social capital that enhances employee engagement and staff retention and thereby increases productivity and performance.

Decent work therefore sums up the aspirations all people have for their working lives; for work that is productive, delivers a fair income with security and social protection, safeguards basic rights, offers equality of opportunity and treatment, prospects for personal development and the chance for recognition and to have your voice heard. Decent work is also central to efforts to reduce poverty and is a path to achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. Ultimately decent work underpins peace and security in communities and societies.

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