Fair living wage

Fair Living Wage

The people making H&M group’s products should have good working conditions and earn a fair living wage. For us, this is indisputable and the reason why we have developed a global fair living wage strategy.

We define a fair living wage as one which satisfies the basic needs of workers and their families as well as providing some discretionary income. A fair living wage should be revised annually, and negotiated regularly.

Improved workplace dialogue and industrial relations – where freedom of association is respected, where workers’ representatives have a voice and where trade unions can negotiate and bargain collectively – are preconditions for lasting improvements for the garments workers in all areas of working conditions, including fair living wages, but also for stable and predictable production markets. That is what our Fair Living Wage strategy, that we developed in 2013, is built upon.

Here’s how we work:

  • We engage in dialogue with local governments to further develop the legal framework needed for improved industrial relations.

  • We engage with factory owners to enable them embracing the importance of well-functioning industrial relations as well as implementing well-functioning wage management system. Improved wage management systems and workplace dialogue are implemented at an increasing number of factories and countries.

  • We train workers and management about their rights and responsibilities and facilitate the democratic election of employee representatives through trade unions or worker committees. For example, in 2017, 100% of the garment manufacturer units in Bangladesh producing for us, conducted democratic election of worker representatives. In total, 2,882 persons were elected and 40% of those were women.

  • We ensure that we maintain good purchasing practices by being long-term and stable business partners which helps enable factories to pay a fair living wage.

  • To really drive our fair living wage strategy forward we also collaborate with industry experts, NGOs, unions, stakeholders and other brands. One example is our collaboration through ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) who brings together global brands, retailers and IndustriALL – the global trade union federation representing garment and textile workers –to address the issue that in many countries garment and textile workers do not earn a living wage. Within ACT, brands and IndustriALL focus on efforts to promote industry-wide collective agreements, through a legal framework that fully respects freedom of association and promotes collective bargaining.

Please see updates on our work here:

Please see Helena Helmersson’s (former Head of Sustainability) speech in Berlin during the Conference on Living Wages in International Supply Chains, to see what we promised in 2013 in terms of our Fair Living Wage strategy.

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