Following up with our journey in the world of Employee Ownership, we are eager to keep on progressing as a responsive and transparent business. For this reason, we have applied to the Good Business Charter and are proud to announce our accreditation has been successful.
What is the Good Business Charter?
Good Business Charter is a charity organization that encourages responsible capitalism. Its purpose is to nourish ethical behaviour of business, recognizing and highlighting companies that follow good business practices.
It covers many aspects, ranging from policies and employment rights to sourcing and taxing. In other words, Good Business Charter takes into account every angle of the business to evaluate its behaviour: how it treats the employees, customers, its approach to the supply chain and its compliance with the laws.
What are top 10 components of the Good Business Charter?
1. Real living wage
We all understand that the primary reason of employment is to be able to sustain one’s living. However, there are plenty of nuances when it comes to minimum wages and what not. For instance, whereas the national UK minimum living wage in 2023 is £12.00 per hour for 25 and over, the London minimum living wage is £13.15 per hour. Such difference is seen due to living in the capital being recognized to be vastly more expensive than it is elsewhere across the country. Despite that, many employers in London still choose to pay the national minimum wage, therefore subjecting their employees to the need of finding secondary sources of income to maintain their livelihoods.
One of the GBC requirements is for the employers to comply with the real living wage that is set out by the Living Wage Foundation and pay it out within a mutually agreed time frame to all of the company’s employed and regular contracted staff.
2. Fairer hours and contracts
Zero hours contracts are known to be a gray area business often take advantage of. The GBC requires a fair approach to it, eliminating the danger of falling short on hours and therefore payment that zero contract workers face. Therefore, to be accredited to the GBC, businesses must have a fair shift scheduling and cancellation policy, seeking to protect its workers from earning less than they are entitled to.
Additionally, contracts with guaranteed hours are being monitored by the GBC, too. The requirement of getting the GBC accreditation when it comes to guaranteed hours approach consists of the employees being able to request a contract with more fixed hours without consequences and the employers to review actual hours worked annually to initiate a conversation to find a solution that would satisfy both parties.
3. Employee well-being
Very often people will disregard their health due to fear of their employment being affected by taking health-related days off. Not only does this reflect negatively on their personal well-being and performance but can potentially endanger other employees and customers alike.
To stop businesses from forcing the employees to neglect their health over a job, one of the GBC requirements is to ban all penalties for legitimate sickness such as threat of termination or payment reductions.
4. Employee representation
While the employer remains the key decision maker, it is important for the employees to have a right to voice their concerns, suggestions and questions. This ensures that both parties are happy, work together and build the best working environment possible.
For this reason, the GBC requires all the companies to have a system of worker representation, meaning the employees have a voice within the business when it comes to optimizing the conditions or making important decisions that will affect them.
5. Diversity and inclusion
No one should ever be discriminated for their gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. No business has a right to generate pay gaps or strip people off opportunities based on any of those factors.
To be accredited by the GBC, the businesses must provide evidence of how diversity is being monitored in their workforce and to prove that all the workers have equal rights and opportunities regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
6. Environmental responsibility
In the era when we have finally taken a note of the impact our actions have on the environment, we need to take past mistakes into account and avoid repeating them. Throughout centuries of trade and manufacture we have caused tremendous number of damages to our planet – while most cannot be reversed, this is a responsibility of every business to ensure the existing problems are not deepened.
One of the GBC requirements is for the businesses to put maximum effort into preserving the environment. A company that wants to be accredited to the GBC needs to commit to an environmental policy and to continuously improve its performance in terms of reducing an environmental footprint.
7. Pay fair tax
Tax avoidance is a very big issue that leads to legal consequences. Unfortunately, even the threat of getting in trouble does not stop some businesses.
It is one of the GBC priorities to establish the business is not involved in illegal actions such as tax avoidance. To get the GBC accreditation the business must commit to be transparent in their relationship with HMRC and to pay their taxes.
8. Commitment to customers
Ultimately, an ethical business should always prioritize its customers over the income. Meaning that while yes, the business can only be sustained when it generates income, the priority must always be providing top notch goods or services to the customer.
Because of this one of the GBC requirements is for the businesses to publish their commitment to the customer. Additionally, the businesses are required to gather and monitor customer feedback and to always strive to improve based on them.
9. Ethical sourcing
Cutting corners when sourcing for the business is not an unknown practice, having been the focus of many worldwide legal cases. The issue is big and nagging even though unethical sourcing is constantly chastised and the offenders are publicly named and shamed.
The GBC requires businesses to comply with the standards set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code and to approach sourcing to remain diligent, ethical and mindful.
10. Prompt payment to suppliers
Working with suppliers is essential for the businesses. The agreement between the business and the supplier is primarily set to satisfy both parties, meaning both parties are supposed to comply with the rules outlined in the said agreement.
For the GBC accreditation the business must show history of smooth cooperation with the suppliers as well as is required to sign the government’s Prompt Payment Code.
What does the Good Business Charter accreditation mean to us?
Having been accredited to the GBC shows that not only we are transparent with our customers, suppliers and distributors but also run our business ethically. At TensCare we pride ourselves on always being up to date with our documents, our outstanding customer service and our incredible family-like work environment.
The GBC accreditation shows that those are not empty words – those are indeed the qualities that make us who we are.