Promoting worker well-being

Our worker well-being programs support thousands of workers employed at toy and children products factories around the world. We welcome businesses of all sizes and nature to get involved - invest for impact.

Left-Behind and Migrant Children in China

China’s national population census mentioned there are 375.82 million domestic migrant workers, up 69.73% from 2010. “China’s continued economic and social development has facilitated the population migration and mobility, the trends of which have become increasingly evident, and the size of [the] floating population has further grown,” the National Bureau of Statistics said.” [SCMP]

Many migrant parents find work many miles away in the big cities, their children, therefore, become Left-behind children or Migrant Children. Left behind Children are those who stay behind in the villages, separated from their parents. And Migrant Children are those who move to the city together with their parents.

In 2022, statistics on China's left-behind children revealed that there are currently 9.02 million rural children under 16 years old in this situation. Nearly 90% of these children are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives, and around 360,000 children have no proper guardian. Breaking down the numbers by region, there are approximately 870,000 left-behind children in rural areas of eastern provinces, constituting about 9.65% of the national total. In central provinces, the figure rises to 4.63 million, accounting for 51.33% of the national total. Meanwhile, in western provinces, there are 3.52 million left-behind children, making up 39.02% of the national total.

ESCP operates Family-Friendly Spaces (FFS) and Migrant Parent Training (MPT) Program to support both left-behind and migrant children. These win-win initiatives create multiple benefits, for all, i.e.: create measurable business benefits for businesses.  Read more about our work in the Guardian and the Financial Times.

Family-Friendly Spaces reunite domestic migrant workers with their children in the summer months, by creating safe, secure, and well-equipped childcare facilities at factories for children to learn and play while their parents focus on work.

Family-Friendly Spaces

Since we first launched Family-Friendly Spaces at toy factories in 2016, thousands of workers and their children have participated.

Over the years we have opened 71 Family-Friendly Spaces accommodated around 3,000 children, supporting 3,145 participating workers with childcare. Here's a business case from one of the participating business:

Challenges before joining the FFS program:

  • Workers worry about their children during the summer months, affected the concentration & efficiency of these parent worker
  • Some workers resign to take care of their children for school vacation, which affected the productivity

After the FFS program, workers feel the care from their management:

  • The trust between Workers and Management has raised 200%
  • The retention rate increased from 45% to 100%

Click here to look at the joyful activities factories and program sponsors have prepared this year

Click here to view how our Family-Friendly Spaces program supports the UN's SDGs

A man sitting next to a little girl

"When my daughter first came, the teachers said she was the most timid girl. Now after Family-Friendly Spaces, she even greets people she’s never met before" – Zhang Quan, a father worker from YunnanStaff at Family-Friendly Spaces are trained to run fun and educational activities for children during the day and allow parent workers to spend time with their children.

A man and two children posing for a picture

“Without any hesitation, I will bring them to the FFS again if our factory opens it next year. Last year when they came here, they spent most of the summer time in our rented house by themselves, watching TV, playing with toys, and doing their homework. They were very bored. We are also worried about leaving them alone at home. The gas tank and electrical devices are very dangerous. Locking them in is not a good solution, but we had no choice. Now they can stay at the center, do homework and take part in activities under the teacher’s supervision. After spending quality time together, we’ve developed a strong bond with each other!” – Ms. Chen Cuicui, 35 years old, line manager of production department from Sun Wing Ming factory. Her two children live with their grandparents in Guangxi.

A group of children sitting on the floor playing with toys

Look at the case studies from the participating factories, learn more about their tips and motivation:

Migrant Parent Training

Our Migrant Parents Training Program helps workers build stronger relationships with their left-behind children.

The training workshops provide practical tools to lessen the burden of workers’ separation from their children, focusing on the following:

Impacts of Migrant Parent Training – Before and After:

"I feel guilty for being away from my children" – participating worker before Migrant Parent Training

"I believe I can educate my children well even when they are not with me" – participating worker after Migrant Parent Training

A group of women in scrubs sitting at a table

Our implementation partner for the family friendly factory spaces and migrant parents training programs is The Centre of Child Rights and Business.

You can support these projects by either joining the Ethical Supply Chain or directly sponsoring a Family-Friendly Factory Space to help reunite hundreds of workers with their children, contact us to find out more.

Participating factories (2016-2023)

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Sponsors (2023)

The walt company logo on a green background
The logo for crayola
A red square on a white background
The spin master logo on a green background
Become a Member

ESCP wishes to thank Crayola, Disney, DK, Hallmark, Hape, LEGO®, Mattel, Moose Toys, Spin Master, The Marketing Store, and TÜV Rheinland for their generous donation of gifts to children participating in the Family-Friendly Spaces program or funding to implement the program.

A group of women in scrubs sitting at a table

How you can support the programs

Our booklet Best for Workers outlines how our worker well-being program can support parent workers at your factories. Download to find out more about how the programs work and the benefits they deliver.

If you would like to find out how your company can get involved and direct sponsor these programs please email us at join@ethicalsupplychain.org.

Child care in Vietnam

The Ethical Supply Chain has collaborated with Children’s Rights and Business project led by Save the Children Vietnam, The Centre and ISMS, on factory assessment study to identify challenges affecting parent workers and children’s rights in the supply chain in Vietnam. Vietnam is an emerging center for toy production; the country is home to the largest community of Ethical Supply Chain certified factories outside of China.

It is not common for workers in Vietnam to live in factory dormitories, our study found that 84% of workers currently live with their children. However, workers in Vietnam still expressed concerns around childcare challenges.

The Ethical Supply Chain is exploring opportunities to strengthen childcare options at toy factories in Vietnam.

Read more about the findings of this study

Women’s Empowerment in India

The Ethical Supply Chain is partnering BSR to advance women’s empowerment at toy factories in India – a growing centre for toy manufacture.

This program is identifying opportunities to further strengthen the Ethical Supply Chain Certification to empower women, to design and implement women’s empowerment strategies, and to support toy factories in India to foster deeper change in the country.

From preserving women’s health rights to protecting against harassment, ensuring equal pay to promoting professional advancement, learnings from our in-factory work in India will be applied across the wider Ethical Supply Chain as part of our work beyond audit to build capability and empower workers.

Contact join@ethicalsupplychain.org to learn more about the BSR Ethical Supply Chain women’s empowerment projects in India.