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What financial inclusion obstacle are we supporting low-income people to navigate? What financial capability are we attempting to enable or develop? What – gives you access to MFO’s select publications organized around the content of a financial education curriculum or training manual. You can also gain access to the full set of Global Financial Education Program materials here.

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Excess Work Hours Among Garment Workers in Bangladesh, Part One

In mid-April the Bangladeshi government quietly increased the legal workweek for garment workers in Bangladesh to 72 hours per week, up from a previous legal maximum of 60 hours per week. The new limit allows for eight hours of regular work for six days a week, plus a total of up to four hours of overtime work per day. For many garment workers in Bangladesh, a 72-hour workweek is simply the reality they have become used to, in part because the wages they earn during a regular 48-hour workweek are not enough to subsist on.

The Bangladeshi government’s response to this situation is an acknowledgement of the fact that an ever-increasing share of workers in the RMG sector in Bangladesh are working excess hours. This confirms what workers have been telling us during their weekly interviews, when they report how many hours they worked in the previous week—again showing the value of the Diaries as a way to understand what is going on in the RMG sector in Bangladesh. 

This week’s blog documents the rise in the share of workers working excess hours since August 2020 and serves as part one in a series which will focus on this trend. Coming on the heels of our Living Wage, Living Planet series (Part One and Part Two), we believe these work hours data further demonstrate that the current way the global apparel supply chain operates is unsustainable.

As always, you can send any questions you have for MFO, SANEM, the workers or about the project to questions@workerdiaries.org.


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Garment Worker Diaries Update in Bangladesh through April 2022

This week’s Garment Worker Diaries blog brings the project up to date in Bangladesh through April 2022.

Ramadan was last month, and many garment workers ended their observance by taking leave from their factories to get a head start celebrating Eid al-Fitr. There was also additional income from advance payments in April, which meant that some of the quality of life indicators we track saw their best measurements in at least the past two years. We also saw increased transfer activity as workers took money home for the holidays to give to their families.

The equation seems simple: better pay for garment workers equals better lives.

As always, you can send any questions you have for MFO, SANEM, the workers or about the project to questions@workerdiaries.org.


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Living Wage, Living Planet: Part Two

This week’s blog forms the second part of our “Living Wage, Living Planet” series. In part one of the series, we focused on the link between a living wage and a living planet: if garment workers were paid more, then they could work less, thus contributing to a greener, safer world through reduced carbon emissions via their jobs in garment factories. This shift to higher pay and fewer hours would also hopefully coincide with brands transitioning on their own towards more sustainable garment manufacturing practices.

In part two, we get into the details and reveal just how much more garment workers in Bangladesh would need to be paid just to have a minimally decent life. Part of living a decent life would mean they could also stop working excess hours at their factories, which is currently the only choice they have if they want to earn just enough to eat, pay rent, and buy life’s other essentials.

The open space between workers’ current pay and what our calculations suggest they ought to be paid is very wide, but we don’t think it’s an impossible gap to close. All of us living on this planet have a part to play, and different stakeholders have different roles. Garment workers have done their part by sharing their data with us. It’s our turn to take the next step.

As always, you can send any questions you have for MFO, SANEM, the workers or about the project to questions@workerdiaries.org.


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Living Wage, Living Planet: Part One

This week and next week’s Garment Worker Diaries blog will form a series we are calling “Living Wage, Living Planet“. The two blogs are adapted from a recent report we wrote in which we used both Garment Worker Diaries data and other publicly available data to determine what we think a fair living wage should be for garment workers in industrial areas of Bangladesh.

We then took this living wage calculation a step further and asked ourselves who else might benefit from garment workers receiving a living wage, and how they might benefit. Our claim is that everyone benefits from garment workers getting paid more, including the planet we share.

While we are always excited to share each blog post with you, this particular blog series represents somewhat of a culmination of the past two years of data collection in Bangladesh. In honor of that, we are putting workers’ immediate needs to the fore perhaps more than ever before, and that makes us particularly happy to be sharing this blog post with you today.

As always, you can send any questions you have for MFO, SANEM, the workers or about the project to questions@workerdiaries.org.


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Garment Worker Diaries Update in Bangladesh through March 2022

This week’s Garment Worker Diaries update brings the project up to date in Bangladesh through the end of March 2022. Among our usual monthly updates, we continue to monitor work hours within the context of total working days in a month in order to highlight the fact that many garment workers in Bangladesh end up working more hours than legally allowed. This is not their fault, however. Many of them are forced to work excess hours because this is the only way they can earn enough money to provide a decent life for themselves and their families. 

In the near future, we look forward to sharing a paper we’ve written detailing our living wage analysis for garment workers in Bangladesh. What that analysis will reveal is the unsurprising fact that garment workers earn nowhere near enough money to cover expenses that many people in developed countries would characterize as the bare minimum for a decent life.

As always, you can send any questions you have for MFO, SANEM, the workers or about the project to questions@workerdiaries.org.


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