Overtime in Africa Floriculture

Long working hours with lots of overtime are a common feature in the floriculture industry in East Africa. Regular excessively long workdays can be dangerous for workers’ health and have a negative effect on their productivity. A healthy balance between regular work times and overtime is therefore very important.

MPS – the administrator and developer of floriculture standards in the area of sustainability – has included a maximum amount of overtime in its SociallyQualified (SQ) Standard. This overtime must also be voluntary and not structural.

The meaning of ‘structural’

Because there is not a strict definition of the word ‘structural’, growers do not exactly what it means for them. It is difficult for auditors to guarantee that it is evaluated in the same way at each company. To solve this problem, CREM did research for MPS about how to make this definition clearer.

Criteria Development

With input from various stakeholders (including national and international NGOs and governments, unions, growers and auditors), two criteria were developed. One criterion limits the average overtime per employee, the second criterion evaluates overtime within the business as a whole. It is expected that the new criteria will be tested in East Africa in 2015. At the same time, it will be investigated to what extent the criteria can be used worldwide.

More info: Victor de Lange