YTY is pleased to announce that it is extending the Employee Reimbursement Program (“ERP”), which seeks to reimburse blue collar employees from foreign countries (“EFC’s”) for fees charged to them by employment agents during their recruitment process.
The company had previously made the program eligible to EFC’s, also known as foreign workers, or migrant workers, that had joined the company on January 1, 2019, or thereafter. With today’s announcement, we are pleased to announce the extension of the Employee Reimbursement Program to all EFC’s that are employed with us, irrespective of their join date. This latest decision marks another important step forward in our desire to take a leading role in respect of social compliance best practices.
The key tenets of the Employee Reimbursement Program center around inclusiveness, in that all EFC’s will be eligible, and comprehensiveness, in that all recruitment fees paid by EFC’s to employment agents will be reimbursed.
YTY was one of the first organizations in our industry to acknowledge the issue of EFC’s being charged excessive recruitment fees and commit ourselves to the concept of reimbursing them for such fees. As such, our work in this area is well underway.
Based on the updated program framework, payouts will be separated into two tranches. In Tranche 1, payouts will be provided to EFC’s that have been with the company since January 1, 2019. The review process for this group of employees is close to being finalized, and we expect to initiate our first payout in October 2020, with payouts spread across a further 23 months.
In Tranche 2, we will provide payouts to EFC’s that have been with the company prior to January 1, 2019. We have already commenced the review for this cohort, and expect to complete the process this year itself. We aim to target our first payout under Tranche 2 in January 2021, with payouts spread across a further 23 months.
To ensure the program framework and the payouts themselves are judged to be fair and balanced, we intend to have each area audited by an external agency well versed in providing input on such matters.
YTY has long valued the contribution of its employees, irrespective of nationality, race, religion, gender or country of origin. Employees from foreign countries, in particular, have played an important role in our growth and success, and we are grateful for their contributions.
The Employee Reimbursement Program builds on a history of best-in-class practices by YTY to support and benefit EFC’s in a socially responsible manner. These include a track record of always being in compliance with Malaysia’s Employment Act in respect of permissible working hours, and ensuring EFC’s have always had freedom of movement within our premises, and into and out of our facilities. Where appropriate, we have evolved our approach, such as providing EFC’s with direct oversight of their federally issued travel documentation.
Furthermore, YTY has provided now for many years, a vast array of benefits to EFC’s to preserve their well-being, recognize and reward them for their contributions, and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect at all times. These include, but are not limited to, providing them with subsidized food and laundry, free health check-ups, cash rewards for business ideas of merit, annual bonuses, promotions and monetary fringe benefits for high-performers, and work pass renewals to provide opportunities for long-term employment. Furthermore, we engage with EFC’s on a regular basis via a formal committee, comprised of representatives from each international ethnic group and senior officials from the company, to ensure we remain sensitized to on-going matters relating to EFC welfare and benefits.
We are pleased that our efforts in respect of our social compliance achievements have been recognized by respected, independent audit agencies. As a member of SEDEX, we have had each of our Malaysian facilities audited to a four-pillar SEDEX Members’ Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA), and have been judged to be in compliance to the standards we aspire to across all the measures evaluated.
Further, we remain the only Group in our industry to have received the coveted Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) accreditation, having obtained a “Gold” standard in our first audit, the highest rating possible. We have also achieved a Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) rating of “A”. The WRAP and BSCI recognitions were awarded in 2019 to Medisafe Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of YTY, and reflect the philosophy we adopt as a Group towards maintaining the highest standards of social compliance, environmental responsibility and employee welfare.
Despite our announcement today, and the numerous steps YTY has taken over the years to raise the bar on social compliance standards across our Group, we will continue to improve our social compliance scorecard in line with international best practices, and aim to deliver on these elevated targets in a practical and progressive manner.