People - Understanding


Living Wages and Decent Livelihoods

“Through my sewing job at the centre, I can take care of my daughter. Thank you.”

- Kong Khan, Maison Chance Vietnam


A recent study found that 90% of the surveyed major international fashion brands do not pay a living wage to employees who work in factories at the first tier of the supply chain (sewing and packaging). This does not even consider the earlier, more distant stages of the supply chain.16


Living wages adequately address the costs of living, which in turn breaks the cycles of exploitation and poverty. Our partner sewing centres provide a living wage and other benefits, including but not limited to:

- Accessible, equitable work environments;

- Health and support services;

- Education, vocational training, and employment pathways;

- Holiday, maternity, and annual leave; and

- Superannuation/pension funds.

A living wage enables a person to work a standard workweek and be able to pay for a decent standard of living, including food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and to save up money for future needs and unexpected events. In many countries, the minimum wage is not sufficient to cover the costs of living. This is why a living wage is so important.

To understand how we define working a standard workweek, please refer to the Inclusive sub-section.



Freedom of Association 

Our partner sewing centres have their own specific policies regarding free association. However, we preform our own independent checks and ensure that worker’s rights to association and collective bargaining are respected.


ETI Base Code

2 Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected.

2.1 Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.

2.2 The employer adopts an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities.

2.3 Workers representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace.

2.4 Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.


5 Living wages are paid.

5.1 Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.

5.2 All workers shall be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions in respect to wages before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid.

5.3 Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted nor shall any deductions from wages not provided for by national law be permitted without the expressed permission of the worker concerned. All disciplinary measures should be recorded.