In 2017, the Welsh Government launched the ‘Code of Practice – Ethical Employment in Supply Chains’. This is designed to eliminate modern slavery and support ethical employment practices in Wales. All public sector and organisations that receive public sector funding are expected to sign up to the code, including businesses and third sector organisations.
The Code contains 12 commitments covering five main employment issues. Signatories agree to:
- produce policy and training procedures educating staff to recognise and deal with Modern Slavery and Human Rights issues.
- avoid placing undue time and cost pressures on supply chains by paying promptly within 30 days receipt of a valid invoice.
- not make use of or contract with suppliers that use blacklists. Blacklisting is a system where employees are discriminated against based on information held about them and their trade union activity.
- ensure that false self-employment, umbrella schemes and zero hour contracts are not used unfairly.
- consider paying the Living Wage as a minimum. This remains a consideration and not an obligation under the Code of Practice.
There is a toolkit that accompanies the Code of Practice, made up of four guidance notes and a set of example questions, conditions and policies. This is designed to assist organisations in implementing the strategy and to provide lists of considerations to work through with members of staff when developing internal policies.
Signatories will need to update procurement documentation to include questions on ethical employment and where appropriate, elements of the code should be incorporated as conditions of contracts.
If you have any queries as to how this will impact on your contracts please contact the construction team.