Better Work Haiti
Better Work is a comprehensive program that brings together all levels of the apparel industry to improve working conditions and respect of labor rights for workers, while boosting the competitiveness of apparel businesses. As a result of their participation with Better Work, export apparel factories in Haiti have improved compliance with labor law including issues of compensation, contracts, occupational safety and health and working time. By enhancing working conditions, Better Work Haiti increases the factories’ productivity and profitability.
Harsh working conditions in apparel factories have been at the center of a large and growing debate about globalization and labor standards for years. Low wages, long hours, high temperatures, excessive noise, poor air quality, unsanitary conditions, and abuse (both verbal and physical) are often cited as evidence of non-compliant labor practices in Haiti.
The Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2008-2025 (HOPE II) gives preferential treatment for imports of apparel, textiles, and certain other goods from Haiti. The HOPE II legislation calls for the establishment of Better Work to monitor compliance with national labor and international standards in factories. By law, all apparel factories in Haiti need to be registered in the program.
Better Work Haiti combines labor monitoring and training to apparel factories. By monitoring export apparel factories' compliance with international labor standards, Better Work informs major brands and buyers of labor conditions in each factory. Brands want to work with factories that will protect their reputation, so the program becomes a “race to the top” for increasing conditions, productivity and provide good jobs. The program also educates workers and managers on labor rights and responsibilities, and provides a space for factory level dialogue between management and workers. To improve government capacity, the Better Work Haiti program dedicates a high percentage of its efforts and budget to building the inspection capacity of the Ministry of Labor (MAST), including support on inspection methodologies and internal systems.
Better Work is active in all 32 apparel factories in Haiti, benefiting approximately 50,000 workers, 65% of which are women.
The project supports dialogue between government, employers, and unions in the textile sector, and created a social dialogue roundtable to act as a platform for negotiations and for building trust and stronger relations between the social actors. Read the story, Working Hand in Hand: labour inspectors and Better Work Haiti strengthen partnership during the pandemic.