Despite differing economic fortunes, one common theme rose to the fore across all sectors during 2020: labour standards and particularly the duty of care/responsibility that every company has to its workforce. We have long believed that strong labour standards can positively impact corporate performance: enhanced employee satisfaction and increased productivity, better reputation and increased customer satisfaction all point to a healthier bottom line. Early evidence suggests that companies that better managed their human resources before and during the pandemic outperformed those that did not.
So how exactly did companies operate during the pandemic – did they uphold strong labour standards and care for their workforces?
We broadened our previous engagement with companies on the Living Wage to include broader social themes, including:
- Occupational health and safety, including the provision of protective gear
- Paid sick leave considerations, and its continuation beyond the pandemic
- Support of staff who are impacted by childcare closures
- Pay premiums for customer-facing roles
- The provision of mental health support
- Discussions around managing redundancies mindfully
While we saw many instances of positive change, such as temporary wage increases and one-time bonuses, we continue to encourage companies to make these changes permanent.
During the year ahead, as well as engaging on wages and improved disclosure thereof, we will look to expand into topics such as freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Interested in learning more?