Pre-employment screening as a compliance tool with the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act
One of the implications of globalization is the growing threat of human rights violations and environmental degradation caused by commercial activities. The good news is that more and more organizations are recognizing the necessity of committing to the principles of a sustainable business model by adhering to more responsible standards of environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices.
This is shown by initiatives that foster the protection of human rights and the environment, such as the United Nations Business and Human Rights Guide and the Corporate Due Diligence and Corporate Accountability Directive of the European Union.
In response to these efforts, a number of nations have developed their own national legal frameworks. One of them is Germany, which released the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (SCDDA), effective from January 2023.
Under the SCDDA, German-based companies of a certain scale, particularly high-impact companies, are required to conduct due diligence to ensure human rights and environmental ethics are respected in their own operations and supply chains.
Exploitation of child labor
The risks that need to be assessed in due diligence under this law include, but are not limited to, forced labour, child labour, discrimination, unsafe work environments, and environmental damage.
Human rights violations in the form of exploitation of child labor are one of the risks discussed by this law in the second part of the policy. This is because child labor is a global problem, especially in developing countries where the trend continues to increase.
The ILO report states that 152 million children are currently working and 25 million adults and children are forced to work, including in global supply chains.
A study reports that 79 million boys and girls are affected by the exploitation of child labour. In line with the study, Unicef reported that around 160 million children were targeted by child labor in early 2020, with an additional 9 million children at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. In other words, 1 in 10 minors worldwide are employed.
For the age category of child labor, SCDDA refers to the ILO Convention No.138 Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, namely the age for compulsory schooling or under 15 years. It means that companies are prohibited from employing children aged 15 and below.
Screening of prospective employees
Referring to the SCDDA, verifying the information provided by candidates before recruiting them is part of the due diligence that must be carried out by the company and its supply chain. This verification is carried out through a pre-employment background screening program.
Information that is verified includes the candidate’s age, which is done by verifying his/her identity card or other documents. Based on the results of the verification, the company can determine whether the age of the candidate falls within the risk category.
In other words, pre-employment background screening has become a compliance tool and an important part of today’s recruitment process. Companies that are subject to the law, but at some point fail or do not carry out this part of due diligence, may face civil lawsuits and fines in accordance with SCDDA provisions.
Integrity Asia has been trusted by our clients from various business backgrounds for more than two decades to conduct pre-employment background screening and provide comprehensive analytical reports.
By having all the facts at hand, your company will be better equipped to make the right hiring decisions. For more detailed information on employment background screening and other compliance services, contact us today.