Probation and Termination Policy (Revised)
Effective 1 April 2012
As part of its own continuous improvement program (CIP), the ICTI CARE Process has reviewed and revised its probation and termination policy. The revision is intended to strengthen the policy and to build in additional incentives for factory records transparency and factory commitment to its own CIP when needed. The most important changes involve:
i. Clarification of Zero Tolerance and Critical Violation definitions and procedures.
ii. Clarification of Probation and Termination.
iii. Elimination of the 'Suspension' status in order to streamline the process and provide a clear compliance status to a factory.
iv. Reduction of the number of re-audits required for factories that make steady progress toward certification while on probation.
v. Opportunity for early release from standard 12-month probation after passing two consecutive Surveillance Audits.
The revised probation and termination policy follows:
Definitions of Status
i. "Probation" status is decided by the ICP Technical Team once they are assured that a Factory is willing to demonstrate its commitment to comply with ICP requirements through a continuous improvement program, verified by regular Surveillance Audits and documented in a probation agreement.
ii. Under normal circumstances, the probation period will last for 12 months, with 3 Surveillance Audits to measure progress.
iii. After two consecutive Surveillance Audits, if the factory has no Zero Tolerance or Critical Violations, and with the approval of the ICP Technical Team, the factory will be considered for 'earlier release' from Probation before the end of the 12-month Probation Period. Final approval will be made by the head of Operations.
iv. Probation Extension, with the maximum of one extension for a period of 6 months and 2 Surveillance Audits, may be granted by the head of Operations depending on the conditions and status of continuous improvement based on the previous surveillance audits.
i. A factory with any of the following situations will be terminated:
1. Zero Tolerance violations.
2. Critical violations, together with a failure to commit to make continuous improvement.
3. Failure to comply with the ICP audit procedures and process, such as refusal to undergo the required audits or to settle audit payment, etc…
4. Failure to submit an acceptable Corrective Action Plan (CAP) within 30 calendar days--the Factory Response Period (FRP).
ii. Termination is decided by the head of Operations. A Factory shall be removed from the ICP program once this decision takes effect. A Factory is then not permitted to re-apply until after the 6-month block-out period.
i. Violations of the fundamental Social Compliance standards of the ICTI CARE Process and/or of National and International labor standards.
ii. Zero Tolerance violations include, but are not limited to:
1.Denial of full or partial access to factory premises to meet the objective of the audit.
2. Bribery and Corruption.
3. Hidden production areas or hidden workers with the factory's intention to report an untrue scope of audit.
4. Two or more Child Laborers.
5. Forced Labor.
Other non-compliances like, Physical Abuse, Sexual Harassment or Life-Threatening Health and Safety Issues may also be considered as Zero Tolerance issues.
i. Auditors are required to inform the ICP Technical Team within 24 hours after the audit in which zero tolerance issues are discovered.
ii. The ICP Technical Team will review and recommend termination of the factory to ICP Operations, which will take the decision.
i. Violations of the major Social Compliance standards of the ICTI CARE Process, National and International labor standards.
ii. Critical violations include, but are not limited to:
1. Record Inconsistency
2. Wages Deficiency
3. Delayed Payment
4. Less than one day off per week
5. Rest Time between 2 shifts less than 10 hours
6. Dormitory located in production building
7. Insufficient emergency exits
Procedure for Critical Violations - with Record Inconsistency
i. Transparency Onsite - A Factory with Records Inconsistency that is able to show transparency onsite, with the approval of ICP Operations, at least a Probation Seal will be considered.
ii. Transparency within 30 days after receipt of the Corrective Action Plan (CAP).
1. Factory that failed to show transparency onsite but is still able to provide an acceptable CAP within 30 calendar days (Factory Response Period - FRP), with the approval of ICP Operations, factory is subject to Re-Audit.
2. If transparency is confirmed by the Re-Audit, a Probation Seal will be considered; otherwise factory will be terminated.
iii. Not Transparent - Factory that is not able to be transparent within 30 days will be terminated for 6 months.
Procedure for Critical Violations - without Record Inconsistency
i. Other Critical Violations without Records Inconsistency will be further reviewed through Follow-Up Audits.
ii. Normal Seal will be granted if the findings have been corrected.
iii. No more than 2 Follow-Up Audits will be conducted per audit cycle.