Ethical Employment Standards Policy

Policy statement

It is our policy that the people who work for V-M Orthotics Ltd., and their health, safety and rights at work, should be respected and protected.  We will, as a minimum, comply with all relevant UK employment laws and regulations.  Beyond that, we follow our own Code of Business Conduct and aspire to match the best employment practices.

Our products are manufactured by various supplier organisations employing possibly hundreds of people in different countries, mostly in Europe and the Far East. Our policy is only to do business with suppliers that adopt and implement our standards or have their own policies that reflect the same standards.

V-M Orthotics Limited believes that business should be conducted honestly, fairly and with respect for people, their dignity and their rights.

Implementation

Our Employees

V-M Orthotics Ltd is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce. Our aim is that our workforce will be truly representative of all sections of society and each employee feels respected and able to give of their best. To that end the purpose of this policy is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment and not to discriminate on grounds of gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age. We oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination.

All employees, whether part-time, full-time or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.

Our commitment is:

  • To create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all our staff are recognised and valued.
  • Every employee is entitled to a working environment that promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated.
  • Training, development and progression opportunities are available to all staff.
  • Equality in the workplace is good management practice and makes sound business sense.
  • We will review all our employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness.
  • Breaches of our equality policy will be regarded as misconduct and could lead to disciplinary proceedings.
  • We strive to maintain the highest standards of employee conduct and ethical behaviour and expect all of our employees to uphold these standards.

We are committed to creating a safe, open and transparent workplace culture, where employees are encouraged to raise concerns at the earliest opportunity. We recognise that employees are often the first to realise that there may be something seriously wrong within an organisation.

It is important to V-M Orthotics Ltd that any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing by workers, officers or suppliers of the organisation is reported and properly dealt with. We are committed to tackling malpractice and wrongdoing.  Everyone should be aware of the importance of preventing and eliminating wrongdoing at work. If any cases of wrongdoing are upheld they will be seriously dealt with.

We encourage staff to use internal mechanisms for reporting malpractice or illegal acts or omissions by employees or ex-employees.   Employees will be listened to, and serious concerns will be investigated.

This policy is fully supported by senior management and will be monitored and reviewed annually.

Our Suppliers

Our suppliers may have suppliers of their own and they in turn could be supplied by others.  It would be impossible for us to control the working conditions of the vast number of people who contribute in some way to what finally becomes one of our products.  We therefore address our policy primarily to our direct suppliers and encourage them, in turn, to apply it to their own supply chains.

Local management in each of the countries in which V-M Orthotics Ltd has activities should, so far as is possible in the context of local laws and regulations, ensure that their employees are employed on terms that reflect V-M Orthotics standards as indicated above. Human Resources managers are responsible for reporting any employment practices that fall short of policy standards.

For our business to be and remain competitive in the market place, our goods must be made where they can be produced at the lowest overall cost, consistent with our required quality and technical specifications.  This means that many products are made in countries where wages are relatively low.  Nevertheless, suppliers should treat their workers properly, in accordance with our, and internationally recognised, standards.

We have developed a Code of Employment Standards for Suppliers. It spells out how our suppliers should treat their employees, and its requirements are that:

  • Living wages are paid
  • Working hours are not excessive
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • Child labour is not used
  • Employment is freely chosen by employees
  • No discrimination is practised
  • There is no harsh or inhumane treatment
  • Freedom of association is respected
  • Regular employment is provided

The full Code reflects the Base Code of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and is consistent with the relevant conventions and recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

In many of the countries in which our products are made, the history, traditions, culture and, in some cases, even the law, make full compliance with our policy difficult for our suppliers in the short term.  In such circumstances, our approach is to work with suppliers to improve the conditions of their workers progressively, rather than to walk away from the issue.  Normally, only if a supplier fails to co-operate with us in implementing an improvement programme, will we sever our relationship with them.

Signed:


Caroline Shepherdson
Sales and Marketing Director

Dated: 01/09/2023