Sarah Fox: The Employer Pays Principle

Sarah Fox: The Employer Pays Principle


SARAH FOX: The issue that’s being discussed is the manner in which workers and particularly migrant workers are recruited in one country for work in another country. One of the most rampant abuses that occur in recruitment are the charging of excessive fees so that a worker is told that in order to have this work opportunity they themselves must pay a fee and sometimes these fees are so large that by the time the worker ends up in the job in the other country he owes so much money that he’s in effect in a form of debt bondage which is a kind of forced labor, where effectively he’s working only to pay off the debt that he incurred in order to get the job in the first place. Another big problem is what they call contract substitution: that is a worker is recruited in one country, told that he’s been recruited for a particular job that is going to pay a particular amount of money, but by the time they arrive in the country they discover that it’s a different job altogether, that the wages are much lower, that the working conditions are very different than what they expected. And again because the employer is in one country, and the recruiting process happens in another, it’s a difficult process to regulate. So one country itself can’t regulate and stop those abuses. One of the ways to prevent these kinds of abuses is to have universal acceptance of the principle that the employer pays; that the cost of recruitment our cost of employment to the employer and that it is the employers responsibility to pay whatever the cost our of going to another country and finding workers and that is not the workers should not be charged fees are In the United States we have ourselves adopted this principle in an executive order that governs the way we procure goods and services for the United States. We have in this executive order said that contractors for the U.S. government, and now their subcontractors, cannot charge recruitment fees to workers. So we are and – and many companies are – now adopting this same practice. So the more employers that get together and subscribe to this employer pays principle, the better the market is, then the more recruiters will adapt their behavior. Because you’ll create a demand for this kind of recruitment.

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