Marks and Spencer, a British retailer, established its commitment to strong working time practices in its food supply chains through its Working Hours Management approach, which includes four steps:
- Meeting legal/minimum requirements on working hours
- ‘Stepping in’: Clear communication of contracted hours, paid and unpaid breaks, rest days and voluntary overtime hours; clear holiday policy; monitoring system to ensure there are no excessive hours worked, which may include Electronic Time and Attendance system or clocking in/out cards
- ‘Stepping up’: Proactive management of working hours to ensure people are not working more than 60 hours per week; proactive reviews of shift patterns to meet both business and worker needs; effective and documented risk assessment process to define safe working limits in different production areas; workforce or collective agreement in place to regulate working hours
- ‘Stepping beyond’: Proactive and innovative approaches to reducing overtime hours; thorough understanding of the importance of managing hours effectively by company managers; regular discussions with customers to minimize excessive hours due to ordering patterns; annual review of working hours to assess effectiveness of their management and identify improvements
These measures were shown to be beneficial for both workers and businesses in Marks and Spencer’s supply chain, including a reduction in agency labour use and the need for overtime hours; significant cost savings; and improved work-life balance for workers due to improved shift patterns.