A company’s overall job quality as offered to its workers is a core pillar of the B Impact Assessment’s approach to measuring social and environmental performance. A company’s offerings to its workers may vary substantially throughout its own workforce, however, for instance by providing varying benefits, competitive pay, and career development for full time workers but not part time workers, or for workers in specific locations. To provide a comprehensive measure of performance, worker questions in the BIA generally take an inclusive approach of a company’s overall workforce (including qualifying independent contractors), but individual questions specify particular scopes of the types of workers to include in both the questions themselves and question instructions.
Here is a set of overall guidance for answering questions in the Worker Section:
Completing Worker Metrics:
The Workers Introduction section begins with a set of Worker Metrics used to collect data on your workforce in the present and one year prior, and should be used by your company as overall framing for completing the rest of the assessment. Answer each worker metric on a headcount basis for each relevant worker category.
Full-time workers work year round on an ongoing basis and typically work 35-50 hours per week. Different countries have different standards regarding what qualifies as full time work; while 35+ hours can be used as general guidance, companies can use the relevant classification for their context when available (e.g., in the Netherlands a person working 32h/week is still considered a full-time worker, while in Japan a person working 38 hours a week is considered a part-time worker).
Part-time workers work year round on an ongoing basis and are on your company’s payroll but do not meet full-time equivalency standards (typically working less than 35 hours a week).
Typically, temporary or seasonal workers are those who have a temporary employment contract, are directly on the payroll of your company, and who work for a short duration, such as 2-5 months in a year. Seasonal workers are common in agriculture and retail.
In a case when a company has temporary employees each year (e.g., a coffee bean plantation), capture the total number of temporary employees in the last 12 months, but do not count the same individual twice as they may have been hired for two different working periods during the same year. For example, a farming company may hire seasonal workers twice per year - when crops are planted and for harvesting crops. If the same workers are hired to conduct both activities, they should each be counted once as temporary workers.
Individual independent contractors who work greater than 20 hours per week for your company indefinitely or for longer than a 6 month period count toward your number of workers.
*Note that the inclusion of qualifying independent contractors in the worker section is new to Version 6 of the B Impact Assessment.
“Working owners” (executives who work for the company and who own more than 10% of the business) should NOT be considered in questions in the Workers unless owners/executives are explicitly specified in the question.
Individuals who are hired to work for your company but are formally employed (on payroll) by a third party where your company does not have control over the terms of employment (outsourced staffing), are not included in the worker section. They are instead included as suppliers, which you can learn more about here.
Completing Questions in the Workers Impact Area
The rest of the Workers Impact Area provides a roadmap and measurement of job quality for the workforce defined in the Impact Area Introduction, with different scopes and applications depending on the question. If not otherwise specified:
A question should be considered with all categories of its workforce in mind (full time, part time, temp, and qualifying independent contractors), and
An answer should only be selected if it applies to at least 80% of the specified workforce, on either an FTE basis or a headcount basis.
While a full-time equivalent calculation is recognized as the best way to comprehensively assess job quality across a company’s workforce, the BIA also recognizes that the complexity of such calculations present limitations to efficient data collection, analysis, and verification. With that in mind, there are different approaches that a company can take to complete these questions, ranging from the most conservative estimation methodology (headcount), to an estimation of employment categories as full-time equivalents (FTE estimations), to precise data collection of hours worked to arrive at exact figures of full-time equivalency (exact data). See here to learn how to apply the FTE estimation methodology. Note that, while a headcount calculation is allowed in completing the BIA, it may present a conservative estimate of your performance and therefore limit a company’s score. Identifying areas for a more precise calculation, therefore, is one opportunity to improve your company’s score.
If possible, it is also recommended that your company try to apply a consistent methodology (Full time equivalency or employee headcount) across questions. If your methodologies vary by question, depending on the data available and where you would like to prioritize analysis, it is recommended that you use the Comments section under each question to document which methodology is used.
Many questions in the Workers Impact Area will include more specific application guidance regarding the type and scope of workers to consider:
Some questions may only consider certain types of workers based on their employment relationship and/or working hours. These designations might include full-time workers, part-time workers, full-time and part-time workers, salaried workers, hourly workers, temporary/seasonal workers, etc.
Some questions may include instructions to select policies and practices that apply to “all workers” (100%), “a majority or workers” (>50%), or “any workers” (at least one) instead of the general 80% threshold.
Here are some examples of how these guidelines appear in different assessment questions:
Healthcare Plan - Your company's healthcare plan available to all full-time workers includes...
Benefits for Seasonal Worker - What benefits are offered to all seasonal-only workers on your farm?
Worker Flexibility Options - Does your company offer any of the following job flexibility options, whenever feasible, in writing and in practice for the majority of workers?
Paid Primary Caregiver Leave for Salary Workers - Which of the following describe the primary parental leave policies for salaried workers, either through your company or government programs?
If you have any questions as to how certain workers should be captured within the BIA, please email email@example.com with the detailing the nature of their employment (hours per week worked, months per year employed by contract) and an analyst will be able to assist you.