A look at challenges faced by parent workers in Vietnam

Vietnam is an emerging center for toy production; the country is home to the largest community of Ethical Toy Program certified factories outside of China.

The Ethical Toy Program, formerly ICTI CARE, has collaborated with CCR CSR on their assessment of child rights challenges in the supply chain in Vietnam. The study incorporated Ethical Toy Program Certified factories and found notable differences from the situation faced by parent workers in China.The Ethical Toy Program participated in the Children’s Rights and Business project led by Save the Children Vietnam, the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) and ISMS. The project is comprised of a factory assessment to identify challenges affecting parent workers and children’s rights in the supply chain in Vietnam. The results of this project provide valuable insight into worker well-being in this increasingly important manufacturing country.Vietnam is an emerging center for toy production; the country is home to the largest community of Ethical Toy Program certified factories outside of China.Surveys and interviews were conducted at the participating factories in late 2016 to collect sufficient data for identifying parental and children-related challenges. On the 8th of February 2017, CCR CSR released a summary of the key findings which highlighted the need for improved parenting skills as one of the major challenges faced by Vietnamese workers.The study highlighted the differences between the lives of workers in Chinese and Vietnamese factories. Unlike in China, it is not common for workers in Vietnam to live at the factory. None of the factories in the assessment provided dormitories, instead the vast majority provide a housing and transportation allowance. Because of these differences in housing arrangements, workers in Vietnamese factories are more likely to live with their children, this assessment found that 84% of workers currently live with their children. However, workers in Vietnam still expressed concerns around childcare challenges. When asked what they felt the biggest challenges they would be facing in the next year were, looking after their children was the second most common concern for them.According to the findings, despite 45% of parent worker respondents spending more than 4 hours every day with, or on the phone to, their children, none of the parents said they felt equipped with the necessary skills to educate or care for their offspring. The Ethical Toy Program has observed that workers in China experience similar challenges when it comes to their children. In response to the nation's Left-Behind Children problem, the Ethical Toy Program has been working with CCR CSR to run Migrant Parents Training Program at 10 toy factories in China since last year. There are 62 million children in China who are separated from their parents and ‘left-behind’ in the countryside when their parents migrated to the cities for work. This affects millions of domestic migrant workers who have to live apart from their children and will only see them once a year.Our ‘Parents at work: Distance without Separation’ workshops offer practical guidance on how to meaningfully communicate with children, build relationships, and manage conflicts remotely. These workshops help workers to understand their children’s needs and develop a range of remote parenting skills.The initial pilot phase of our Migrant Parents Training Program is now complete, the pilot reached over 3,000 workers at Ethical Toy Program certified toy factories in China. The Ethical Toy Program is sharing insights on best practices and the program’s benefits with toy manufacturers and international buyers to advance worker well-being in the toy industry. We want the program will act as a case study example for other manufacturing sectors, motivating them to adopt similar projects to advance worker well-being.In line with collective action to achieve SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals, the Ethical Toy Program continues to contribute its expertise and connections to support projects which enhance the well-being of toy factory workers. We are constantly seeking opportunities for collaboration with stakeholders to further our work in improving the global toy supply chain and the lives of those who work within it.About the Ethical Toy Programwww.ethicaltoyprogram.orgThe Ethical Toy Program is the ethical supply chain program for the global toy industry. We work with thousands of brands, retailers, suppliers, NGOs, and other civil society groups to monitor, manage, and fix social sustainability issues in the toy industry supply chain across the world, and to protect and improve labor standards. Over 1,100 toy factories, located in 10 countries, are certified by the Ethical Toy Program, representing more than 600,000 workers. We offer a range of resources to enable toy brands, retailers, and suppliers achieve responsible sourcing aims and drive standards. We lead the industry with far-reaching and specialized audits, a robust ethical certification scheme, capability building and training programs, education, as well as peer-to-peer learning.About CCR CSR:www.ccrcsr.comThe Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) has been a pioneer in advising businesses on child rights since 2009. Their services and expertise help businesses embrace sustainability strategies, programs, and projects that permanently improve the lives of children, young workers and working migrant parents in Asia.