Intent: The intent of SA8000 is to provide an auditable, voluntary standard, based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, ILO and other international human rights and labour norms and national labour laws, to empower and protect all personnel within an organisation's control and influence who provide products or services for that organisation, including personnel employed by the organisation itself and by its suppliers, sub-contractors, sub-suppliers and home workers. It is intended that an organisation shall comply with this Standard through an appropriate and effective Management System.
Scope: It is universally applicable to every type of organisation, regardless of e.g., its size, geographic location or industry sector.


Throughout your review of the next eight elements of SA8000, the requirements of this element - Management System - are central to their correct implementation, monitoring and enforcement. The Management System is the operational map that allows the organisation to achieve full and sustained compliance with SA8000 while continually improving, which is also known as Social Performance. When implementing the Management System element, it is a required priority that joint worker and management involvement be established, incorporated and maintained throughout the compliance process with all the Standard's elements. This is particularly critical to identify and correct nonconformances and to assure continuing conformance.

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Normative Elements and Their Interpretation

The organisation shall comply with local, national and all other applicable laws, prevailing industry standards, other requirements to which the organisation subscribes and this Standard. When such laws, standards or other requirements to which the organisation subscribes and this Standard address the same issue, the provision most favourable to workers shall apply.

The organisation shall also respect the principles of the following international instruments:
  • ILO Convention 1 (Hours of Work – Industry) and Recommendation 116 (Reduction of Hours of Work)
  • ILO Conventions 29 (Forced Labour) and 105 (Abolition of Forced Labour)
  • ILO Convention 87 (Freedom of Association)
  • ILO Convention 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining)
  • ILO Conventions 100 (Equal Remuneration) and 111 (Discrimination – Employment and Occupation)
  • ILO Convention 102 (Social Security - Minimum Standards)
  • ILO Convention 131 (Minimum Wage Fixing)
  • ILO Convention 135 (Workers' Representatives)
  • ILO Convention 138 and Recommendation 146 (Minimum Age)
  • ILO Convention 155 and Recommendation 164 (Occupational Safety and Health)
  • ILO Convention 159 (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment - Disabled Persons)
  • ILO Convention 169 (Indigenous and Tribal Peoples)
  • ILO Convention 177 (Home Work)
  • ILO Convention 181 (Private Employment Agencies)
  • ILO Convention 182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour)
  • ILO Convention 183 (Maternity Protection)
  • ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Social Accountability Requirements

  1. The organisation shall not engage in or support the use of child labour as defined above.
  2. The organisation shall establish, document, maintain and effectively communicate to personnel and other interested parties, written policies and procedures for remediation of child labourers, and shall provide adequate financial and other support to enable such children to attend and remain in school until no longer a child as defined above.
  3. The organisation may employ young workers, but where such young workers are subject to compulsory education laws, they shall work only outside of school hours. Under no circumstances shall any young worker's school, work and transportation time exceed a combined total of 10 hours per day, and in no case shall young workers work more than 8 hours a day. Young workers may not work during night hours.
  4. The organisation shall not expose children or young workers to any situations – in or outside of the workplace – that are hazardous or unsafe to their physical and mental health and development.