Certified vs. Non-Certified Temporary Employment Services – What to expect on the day of audit.

WIETA strongly encourages the use of certified temporary employment services or labour contractors, as this adds another level of ethical protection to our supplier and wine brand members. However, not all temporary employment services or contractors can meet the required compliance requirements or indeed, can afford the audit and compliance costs. In fact, last month WIETA suspended over 40 TES from the WIETA online system for not being able to fulfill their obligations.

So what do you need to know when facing an audit and determining whether to use a certified or non-certified individual?

Here are some tips.

When using a certified TES or labour contractor, the producer being audited (auditee) would need to have the TES’ WIETA Certificate on hand, so that the auditor can verify it. The certified TES or labour contractor will not need to be part of the audit on the day, in other words, their workers will not form part of the audit scope and interviews. Auditors will still have the responsibility to make sure that the auditee sources responsibly in terms of business relationships, so they will ask to see the SLA and evidence in the form of a file of some sort, to make sure to check crucial documentation requirements such as the registration documentation, VAT registration (if applicable), UIF registration, COIDA registration and Letter of Good Standing.

If a valid certificate can be produced, the auditor will want to see that the auditee has a system in place to monitor the compliance of the TES according to the WIETA standard. Your monitoring checks should include asking for proof of contracts and payment of at least the national minimum wage requirements. Proof of OHS training and access to PPE would be advised. Remember that the site’s risk assessment must include workers who access the site from time to time and so these workers should go through a site induction on their first day. The auditor may ask for evidence of this monitoring system. Understand that this is not to audit the TES or labour contractor again, but merely to ensure that you as auditee, has done your due diligence, and that risk-based systems and checks are in place. One should never assume, just because a WIETA Certificate can be produced, that the organisation completely adheres to the code, standard or legislation, as there could be findings raised specifically around the abovementioned requirements.

When using a non-certified TES or labour contractor, 66% of their workforce will need to be available on the day of audit to form part of the scope and interviews. For all intents and purposes, the TES or labour contractor will need to form part of the auditee’s audit completely. This means that the TES should provide all relevant documentation, which will need to be checked and cross-referenced. It is in the auditor’s full right to ask any of the following documentation belonging to the TES or labour contractor: company registration, UIF registration, VAT registration (if applicable), COIDA registration, Letter of Good Standing, payslips, contracts, SLAs, occupational health and safety, ethical policies, grievance mechanisms for contract workers, training records etc.

Also bear in mind that a TES has just as much obligation to meet the cost of compliance as the site does and therefore appointing the cheapest TES or labour contractor is always a cautionary sign that they may not be fully compliant, therefore posing a huge risk to you and your supply chain.

Precarious labour, along with the increasing prevalence of forced labour and human trafficking, is the number one ethical and human rights risk in wine and food supply chains. Increasingly, the EU, UK, US and Canadian buyers are cautious about ensuring compliance of what they call third-party agencies working alongside their suppliers. If you have a TES who requires training and support, please contact Chirstone Hornsby at chirstone@wieta.org.za or Louhan Nel at louhan@wieta.org.za for further information.