Defining the Scope of and Completing the Workers Impact Area

Modified on Thu, 8 Feb at 9:44 AM

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

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

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). 


Temporary/Seasonal Workers

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.


Independent Contractors

Individual independent contractors who work greater than 20 hours per week for your company indefinitely and for longer than a 6-month period count toward your number of workers and should be considered in the scope of workers-related questions in the Workers Impact Area. Individual independent contractors outside these conditions should be regarded as suppliers in the B Impact Assessment. 


Working Owners

Working Owners are founders or partners who work at the company and have 10%+ ownership in the business. If a company’s workers consist only of founders or partners who own 10%+ of your company, then your company’s track size should be 0. This means there needs to be 1 FTE on payroll beyond the working owners/founders to move from the 0 to 1-9 track.


- If a Working Owner is payrolled and they have additional non-Working Owner staff, then the Working Owner should be included in the Worker metrics.

- If a Working Owner is NOT payrolled and they have additional non-Working Owner staff, then the Working Owner should not be included in Worker metrics.




- Company A: Working Owner with 10% ownership but not on the payroll and no staff beyond Working Owner 

Result: 0 Worker track.

- Company B: Working Owner with 10% ownership AND is on the payroll but no staff beyond Working Owner.

Result: 0 Worker track.

- Company C: Working Owner with 10% ownership but not on the payroll and 1FTE additional staff beyond Working Owner.

Result: 1-9 track, Working Owner NOT including in Worker metrics since they are not payrolled.

- Company D: Working Owner with 10% ownership AND on payroll and 1FTE additional staff beyond Working Owner.

Result: 1-9 track, Working Owner ARE included in Worker metrics since payrolled.


*Note that the inclusion of qualifying independent contractors in the worker section is new to Version 6 of the B Impact Assessment.


Each of these worker categories (Full-time Workers, Part-time Workers, Temporary/Seasonal Workers, Independent Contractors, and Working Owners) will be considered in the questions in the rest of the Workers section, including only “working owners" included in Workers metrics (see the definition and examples for "working owners" above).

In the B Impact Assessment, interns are not considered workers, thus do not count them in the total number of workers or on workers-related questions (unless explicitly mentioned in the question). 


In the case of workers that are officially on a third-party/outsourcing agency payroll (e.g., employer of record or HR back-office that manages administrative functions like payroll and benefits), but are considered part of the company staff (i.e., the company does the recruiting, performance evaluations, career development, etc.), the workers should be count toward the total number of workers and be evaluated within the Workers Impact Area. If your company does not have control over the terms of employment, and employee management and development, the workers should not be included in the worker section. In this case, they are should be included as suppliers. Click here to learn more about outsourcing staffing services suppliers and how they are considered in the Community Impact Area. 

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, temporary, qualifying independent contractors, and qualifying Working Owners), 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 (unless another scope is specified in the question).


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 presents 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 of 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 submit a ticket to our B Lab Global Support team via our KB Portal 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.

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