Health care for RMG workers, the Vintage Denim model

Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH,       
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The challenges

Vintage Denim is concerned with the health of its workers. In the past, a worker would generally need to approach a senior management in order to receive financial support for his or her treatment on a need-basis. Today, this factory stands as one of the best examples of RMG factories in Bangladesh which has institutionalised health care support for its workers as per its policy.

However, initially this factory was not aware of how to establish this initiative in their factory, so the management deeply felt the necessity of professional support and then they started collecting information about the relevant service providers.

After a while, this initiative started being implemented through collaboration between Vintage Denim and Health Care for You (HC4U), which was initially piloted with technical support from the Trade in Global Value Chains Initiative (TGVCI) of UK AID.

 The initiatives

Vintage Denim provides an in-house service of two doctors to advice workers if external medical advice or interventions are required. These services are provided by affiliated hospitals and diagnostic centres or hospitals or centres of workers’ choice. HC4U provides administrative support, including verification of claims, user identification, invoicing and user allowance.

Side by side, this factory also takes initiatives to aware as well as counsel workers on health issues such as sexual and reproductive health, children’s health, use of potable drinking water and sanitary latrines, as well as basic health care and nutrition.

It is hoped that the Vintage Denim as an influential industry voice, will also encourage other RMG factories to look at the business case of subsidised affordable health care for workers and their families.

Figure 1: Investing in workers’ health is ensuring   the quality of living for the workers and cost savings for employers through productivity gains.
Figure 1: Investing in workers’ health is ensuring the quality of living for the workers and cost savings for employers through productivity gains.

Health Care Coverage Includes:

Health care services paid by factory up-to Tk. 25,000 per worker or per worker’s family member per year which includes:

  • Free basic health check up.
  • Hospitalisation support which includes doctor’s fee, medicine, diagnostic tests, surgery fee and ambulance:
    • Support up-to Tk. 15,000 per hospitalisation.
  • Outpatient general and specialised consultation, diagnosis and medicine.
    • Doctor’s consultation up-to Tk. 1,200 per year, up-to maximum of 3 consultations.
    • Medication up-to Tk. 700 per year.
    • Diagnostic tests up-to Tk. 1,500 per year.
  • Maternity or obstetrical medical coverage.
    • Normal delivery up-to Tk. 5,000.
    • C-section delivery up-to Tk. 15,000.
    • Legal M.R. up-to Tk. 5,000
    • Ambulance allowance up-to Tk. 1,500.

The maternity or obstetrical benefit covers healthcare expenses incurred related to pregnancy and childbirth and nursing care of the baby while the mother is in the hospital and charges for physicians or registered midwives.

  • Option is also provided to workers to adjust remaining non-covered amount in agreed instalments to the company from their salary.

Eligibility: Workers who have been employed at the factory for at least 3 months, plus their spouses and up-to 2 children under 18 years of age.

Around 1,800 workers and their families are receving these facilities.

The success

Investing in workers’ health, in the process of preventing and managing chronic as well as acute health conditions, is ensuring   the quality of living for the workers and cost savings for employers through productivity gains.

About Vintage Denim Ltd.

Vintage Denim Ltd. is a 100 per cent export oriented platinum LEED certified trouser manufacturing company with around 1,800 employees.

About PSES:

Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES) is a joint project of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in partnership with the Bangladesh Government. The project is supporting Bangladesh’s garment, textile and leather sectors to increase compliance with national labour and environment laws and international standards to fulfil the commitment towards an inclusive workforce. PSES promotes best practices from the RMG industry, to raise awareness and encourage industrial players to replicate similar initiatives in the areas of social and environmental standards as well as inclusive skills development.

Impact: Reduced employee turn-over (20 percent- 30 percent) and reduced sick leave.

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