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Respecting human rights and modern slavery

Human Rights are the basic rights and freedoms every human being has simply because they exist.

They include the right to life, respect for privacy and family life, freedom of thought or religion, and the right not to be subjected to modern slavery. 

At Serco we all have the basic right to be treated with respect and dignity and we want the place where we work and the services we provide to reflect this. 

One area where we all need to be vigilant, and all have a role to play involves modern slavery and human trafficking. It’s happening in every country, and it’s getting worse. There are more people living in slavery today than at any time in history. 

At Serco we will not tolerate, in any context, the use of servitude, child labour, forced labour, human trafficking, or slavery in our operations in any region in which we operate, or in any part of our global supply chain.

We must all stay vigilant!  What our suppliers, third party relationships and customers do is our business.

What we expect from you 

We expect you to:

  • respect and uphold the human rights and freedoms of those that work for and with you.

  • understand, prevent, or mitigate any adverse human rights impacts caused or contributed to by your operations and supply chain.

  • cooperate with our requirements which may include due diligence, deep dives, implementing recommendations etc.

  • adhere to international legislation and principles on human rights and labour standards including the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the United Nations Global Compact, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UK Modern Slavery Act, the Modern Slavery Act Australia and any other applicable Modern Slavery / Human Trafficking legislation in the regions in which you operate.

  • make appropriate grievance mechanisms available to all workers. 

Child labour
  • not use child labour in your operations or supply chain.

  • comply with local laws regarding the minimum age of employees (this should not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling, normally not less than 15 years or 14 where the local law of the country permits), hours of work, wages and safe working conditions.

  • protect young workers from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with their education or that may be harmful to their health, physical, mental, social, spiritual, or moral development.

Forced labour
  • not use any type of involuntary or forced labour, including indentured, bonded, slave or human trafficked labour, and never engage in any form of procurement of commercial sex acts.

  • put in place adequate procedures to ensure that you are not directly or indirectly, through your supply chain, involved in any form of involuntary or forced labour.

  • ensure work is voluntary and workers have the freedom to terminate their employment in accordance with established laws, regulations, and rules.

  • ensure the workplace is free of any form of harsh or inhumane treatment.

  • not charge any fees or costs for recruitment, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, including costs associated with travel, processing official documents and work visas in both home and host countries.

  • ensure that any labour agency you engage operate legally, are certified or licensed by a competent authority, and do not engage in fraudulent behaviour that places workers at risk of forced labour or trafficking for labour exploitation.

  • not mandate that workers hand over government-issued identification, passports or work permits as a condition of employment. 

  • provide workers with contracts of employment, prior to deployment, in accordance with relevant legislation. Where they are written they are provided in a language the employee understands, clearly indicating their rights and responsibilities about wages, working hours and other working and employment conditions. The use of supplemental agreements and the practice of contract substitution (the replacement of an original contract or any of its provisions with those that are less favourable) are strictly prohibited.

  • not require workers to lodge deposits or security payments at any time.

  • operate within disciplinary policies and procedures that are clearly defined and communicated to all workers, and do not include any inhumane disciplinary measure, including any corporal punishment, mental or physical coercion, or verbal abuse of workers; nor include sanctions that result in wage deductions, reductions in benefits, or compulsory labour.

  • prohibit the use or threat of physical or sexual violence, harassment and intimidation against a worker, his or her family, or close associates, is strictly prohibited.

Wages, benefits and working hours
  • pay workers at least the minimum compensation required by local law and provide all legally mandated benefits. 

  • comply with any working hour directives, regulations or laws where you operate.

  • ensure that all overtime work is voluntary and compensated at the prevailing overtime rates. 

  • pay for overtime hours at such premium rate as is legally required or, in those countries where such laws do not exist, at least equal to their regular hourly payment rate.

  • ensure all workers are entitled to at least one day off in every seven-day period.

Freedom of movement and personal freedom
  • not unreasonably restrict workers’ freedom of movement.

  • not physically confine workers to the workplace or related premises, such as employer- or recruiter operated residences nor use any other coercive means to restrict workers’ freedom of movement or personal freedom.

  • not make mandatory residence in employer-operated facilities a condition of employment.

Freedom of association and collective bargaining
  • recognise the importance of open communication and direct engagement between workers and management. 

  • respect the rights of workers to associate freely and communicate openly with management regarding working conditions without fear of harassment, intimidation, penalty, interference, or reprisal. 

  • recognise and respect any rights of workers to exercise lawful rights of free association, including joining or not joining any association of their choosing. You must also respect any legal right of workers to bargain collectively.

What you can expect from us 

We are committed to:

  • respecting and upholding the fundamental human rights and freedoms of everyone who works for us and with us, and of the people and communities we serve and work among. This includes the right to life; the right to respect for private and family life and freedom of thought, religion, and expression; and the right to be treated with dignity, fairness, equality and respect; all of which are embedded in our Values.

  • respecting and protecting the dignity and human rights of our colleagues and everyone we deal with in our work. 

  • staying watchful. If we suspect any kind of human rights abuse, we Speak Up and report it straight away. We are all responsible for keeping our workplace free from abuse. We are especially alert to signs of modern slavery, forced or child labour.

  • only working with approved suppliers and business partners who have been subject to due diligence. 

  • never knowingly taking part in, or benefiting from, any activities that break any law relating to human rights.

  • operating a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and human trafficking and will implement and enforce systems and controls that seek to ensure modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place anywhere in our own business or in our supply chains.

  • taking the greatest care to ensure there is no human rights abuse, slave labour or human trafficking in any part of our operations including our supply chain. The key is for all of us to remain watchful and report any concerns.

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