Manual Timekeeping and Compliance in Pakistan's Textile Export Industry: A Possible Threat Needs to Be Addressed
Keywords:Working off the clock, social compliance, Overtime premium issues, Unclear wage system
In recent decades, the international demand for textiles has seen a substantial increase, positioning Pakistan's textile industry as a pivotal player in global manufacturing. International retailers are intensifying their focus on sourcing textiles and garments from Pakistan due to its strategic importance, necessitating stringent adherence to ethical and social compliance, especially aligning with international human and labor rights standards. This research explores the complexities surrounding the management of working hours in textile factories, a fundamental component of social compliance, considering that the vast majority, over 80%, of textile workers are in contractual employment. Predominantly, the industry relies on manual systems for recording time, attendance, and payroll for contract workers, leading to a plethora of issues including 'working off the clock' violations, discrepancies in overtime, and unclear wage structures. This study, based on data extracted from operational records, i.e., social compliance audit reports from several textile manufacturing units, employs quantitative analytical techniques to identify patterns and assess the implications of these manual practices. The findings highlight significant oversights in the current practices which become glaringly evident during social compliance audits, thus compromising the ethical stature of the factories. The paper underscores the critical need for refining current mechanisms to ensure strict conformity to international ethical and social standards and emphasizes the urgent improvement in contract labor management. The integration of accurate, transparent, and efficient timekeeping and payroll systems is posited as crucial for mitigating risks related to non-compliance and maintaining the sustainability and reputation of Pakistan's textile export industry.
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