The people part of the Travelife Standard relates to all of the people your business employs or engages with.  This includes staff, sub-contractors, guests, members of your community, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you give all new employees something in writing which contains all terms and conditions of employment, including pay, before they start work?

Are all new employees asked to confirm in writing that they have read and understood these?

Do you give all employees a signed copy of these terms and conditions?

Do you have evidence to show how you make sure that all employees understand these terms and conditions and understand how much they will be paid?

Do you have evidence to show that employees do not receive payment before starting work?

Do you have evidence to show that you do not keep any personal documents belonging to employees, such as passports/ID cards etc.?

Do you have evidence to show you do not take money from employees BEFORE they start work (as deposits), in order to secure their job?

Do you have evidence to show that all money owing to an employee is given to them when they leave?

Can all employees leaving the business access the premises to collect any personal possessions?

Do you have evidence to show that all your employees are paid no less than the legal minimum wage?

Do you keep copies of all pay slips and a record of all money paid to employees?

Do you have a system to record all hours worked by each employee? Are these records easily available and checked regularly to ensure that they keep to the law?

Do all employees know in advance what their working hours are and agree to them?

Do all wage slips show how many hours have been worked and the amount paid for that?

If overtime is allowed, do you keep records of it?

Do all wage slips show overtime hours and payments?

Or

Can you show that time off is given to employees when they have worked overtime?

Do you have evidence to show that all employees know about disciplinary procedures? Do you tell them about these at the start of their employment and throughout their period of employment?

Do you have evidence to show that all employees know, from the start, how they can contact senior management if they have a problem?

Do you allow your employees to join a trade union, if there is one?

Do you allow your employees to meet up in working hours, form an association and elect a spokesperson in order to discuss issues without management involvement?

Do you have evidence to show that you do not discriminate against anyone?

Do you have grievance (complaint) procedures in place for employees?  Is training given to employees on these procedures so that they know how to use them if needed?

Do you keep personal files for every employee and do these files include proof of age (such as a copy of ID/Passport)?

Do you keep records of any employee who is under the age of 18? Do these records show their working hours?

Can you show that special conditions are in place for anyone under the age of 18?

If you have employees under the age of 18, can you show that you are following national regulations and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and ILO Conventions 138/182?

At Travelife, we define fair labour practices as working terms and conditions that comply with the law (local, national or international) and that ensure employees are paid properly for the work they do, are given time off for rest and relaxation, have equal opportunities, and enjoy a safe working environment that is free from exploitation, abuse and harassment.  Treating your staff properly and using fair labour practices forms part of your human rights commitments, so please read our Human Rights Member Guide that you can find in the Member Zone so you have a full understanding of what those commitments are.

Your employees

The staff you employ directly (e.g. your business pays their wages)

Staff on any type of agreement (e.g. permanent, temporary, part time, casual, full time, contracted)

Salaried staff as well as those on an hourly wage

People on internships (paid or unpaid)

People on work experience (paid or unpaid)

Volunteers

The employees of your sub-contractors

Anyone working at or for your place of business that is employed by a contractor (e.g. entertainers, builders, contracted laundry services).

The employees of your suppliers

You are expected to encourage your suppliers to employ fair labour practices.

If you find that a supplier is not respecting human rights and fair labour practices and refuses to make improvements, we recommend that you end your relationship with them.

Recruitment: When you recruit directly and when you recruit via an agency or recruitment company.

Procurement: When you procure sub-contractors and suppliers.

Induction: When new employees join your business and when new contractors or suppliers begin working at or for your business.

General operations: Fair labour practices must be observed all of the time for anybody working anywhere for or on behalf of your company.

RECRUITMENT

In order to become Travelife Certified you are expected to have fair recruitment practices. These are summarised below along with the related question on the Travelife Standard.

Equal opportunities

You cannot discriminate against groups of people when you are recruiting.  You must equally consider applicants regardless of their nationality, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, beliefs, thoughts, ideas, religion, marital status or sexual orientation.  The only exception is that you should not hire anyone under the age of 18.  If you do, you will need to make special arrangements.

Example: You cannot insist that all receptionists must be under the age of 30.

Equal pay, terms and conditions

You cannot offer different wages and conditions based on nationality, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, beliefs, thoughts, ideas, religion, marital status or sexual orientation.  Any differences in pay and other employment conditions should relate to the responsibility of the position and relevant experience.

Example: You cannot put staff of one ethnicity in worse accommodation than people of another ethnicity. 

Recruitment fees

Any recruitment fees must be paid by you.  It is not acceptable for any employee to have paid money to anybody in order to secure employment with you or a sub-contractor.  You must also make reasonable efforts to ensure your suppliers are also paying their own recruitment costs.

Example: Some recruitment companies charge fees to employees that they must ‘work off’ over time.  This prevents them from being able to freely leave their employment and is a form of slavery.

Withholding documents: 

It is not acceptable for anybody to withhold original documents that belong to an employee or the employee of a sub-contractor as a condition of their employment.  You should also make reasonable efforts to ensure that your suppliers are not withholding documents from their employees.

Example: Withholding an employee’s passport prevents them from freely leaving the country and therefore your place of business.  This is a form of slavery.

Withholding property

It is not acceptable for anybody to withhold an employee’s personal property as a condition of their employment.  You should also make reasonable efforts to ensure that your suppliers are not withholding personal property from their employees.  If you provide a safe and secure place for an employee to store their property whilst they are at work (e.g. a locked cupboard for valuables, keys, wallets), then they must store this voluntarily and always have immediate and easy access to their items.

Example: Withholding an employee’s property prevents them from freely leaving your place of business and this is a form of slavery.

TRAVELIFE TIP

During your audit you may be required to show evidence that you are complying with all of the recruitment practices detailed above.  It is up to your auditor to decide how they will find that evidence but you can prepare by ensuring you can easily find all of the following documentation (click the links for more information):

Evidence that you do not withhold documents, fees or property

Evidence that you are not discriminating when you recruit staff

A document containing all the labour laws you must comply with

 

SALARY AND WAGES

In order to become Travelife Certified you must pay a wage that is equal to or above the legal minimum wage.  In many destinations this is very easy to comply with as the laws are clear and the government insists on a minimum wage that is in line with the current cost of living.  However, the issue is more difficult for countries that do not have a legal minimum or when the minimum is extremely low.  Regardless of what the laws are in your destination, we strongly encourage all of our Members to pay wages that allow their employees to enjoy a good standard of living.

Minimum wage

This is an hourly rate that is set by a government (local or national) and employers cannot pay anyone below that hourly rate.  Travelife Certified properties are expected to know what this wage is and to demonstrate that they comply with the law.  All countries that are members of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) are required by law to have a minimum wage.  If your country does not have a legal minimum wage then we recommend that you pay a living wage.

 Living wage

In some countries the legal minimum wage is very low and has not kept pace with increasing living costs.  For example, in the United States there are some full-time workers on the minimum wage who still need to collect government welfare in order to provide necessities for their family because the minimum wage is so far below the current cost of housing, food and healthcare.  A living wage addresses this by being more closely aligned with the current cost of living.  We recommend that Travelife Members take this into consideration.

EXAMPLE

The adult minimum wage in the UK is currently £7.83 per hour and the living wage is £8.75 per hour. The living wage is calculated every year by a non-profit organisation and is based on things like inflation. All employers must pay the minimum wage but almost 5,000 companies in the UK voluntarily pay the living wage so that they do a better job of attracting and retaining staff. The living wage in London is £10.20 per hour because the cost of living there is significantly higher than in other parts of the UK.

 

Overtime pay 

This should be paid in accordance with the laws in your destination.  If the law allows you to offer employees time off in lieu of wages for any extra time that they work, then it is important that you accurately record this and can demonstrate that you are giving time off for all overtime worked.

 Records

Travelife requires Certified Members to keep records of the wages paid to their employees for at least 12 months.  In addition to copies of payslips, these must include all of the following for every employee and are normally recorded on a payroll summary or request sheet:

Employee name

Their hours worked

Their hourly/salary rate

Any overtime worked and any overtime paid or hours given back in lieu of overtime pay

Employee departures:  Regardless of whether an employee leaves voluntarily or has their employment terminated by your business, you must pay them for any hours they have worked up until their departure.  You must also allow them to collect their personal belongings before they leave and if that is not possible, you must have them delivered to them within seven days of their departure.

HOURS

Legal requirements

Most destinations will have legal requirements about working hours and time off.  Some businesses will also have to comply with regulations from organisations like trade unions or industry regulators.  You are expected to comply with whichever applies to your business.

Destinations without requirements

If your destination does not have any laws or industry regulations to comply with, then Travelife will expect you to comply with the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code.  This means that you will need to demonstrate all of the following:

Normal working hours (excluding overtime) must not exceed 48 hours in a seven-day period.

The total hours worked (including overtime) must not exceed 60 hours in a seven-day period.

At least one day off is given in a seven-day period.

Travelife requirements

You will need to demonstrate all of the following:

The hours your employees work are in line with the laws and regulations that apply to your business.

That any overtime worked is in line with the laws and regulations that apply to your business.

That you are observing laws and regulations regarding breaks and time off.

That you have a system that records the hours your employees work and that you are monitoring this to ensure you are always compliant with laws and regulations.

That every employee understands and freely accepts their working hours before they begin employment with you.

Travelife Certified properties must have written disciplinary procedures in place that all employees understand and have access to.  The purpose of a formal disciplinary procedure is to protect both your business and your staff.  Your disciplinary procedure should clearly state all of the following:

 The contents of your disciplinary procedure

What behaviours and actions are unacceptable (misconduct)

What level of seriousness is given to each behaviour and action (minor misconduct or serious misconduct)

What the consequences are for minor misconduct and serious misconduct

How the consequences will be enforced

How the employee will be given an opportunity to defend and explain themselves

How the employee can be represented (union representative, lawyer etc.)

How everything will be recorded

How the employee can appeal the decision

Examples of minor misconduct

Not following company policies and procedures

Disruptive behaviour

Unauthorised absence

Repeatedly being late

Examples of serious misconduct

Theft

Under the influence of alcohol or drugs when on duty

Sexual harassment or abuse

Consequences

It is up to you to decide how the procedure will work and what the consequences will be for misconduct.  The important thing is that whatever you decide is clearly written down and communicated to employees in a language they understand.  However, you must ensure that you comply with all of the following:

You treat minor offences with less severity than major offences.

You do not include any type of physical punishment.

You do not verbally abuse or insult the employee.

You do not use punishment that includes things like withholding wages, food, accommodation or confiscating personal property.

The process

Your procedure should outline the process so that you and your staff clearly understand what will happen when misconduct takes place.  It is up to you how the process works but it must be clearly written down and communicated to all employees in a language they understand, and it must include an opportunity for the employee to defend themselves.  If they will be given a formal warning, you must give them the opportunity to have a representative present. It must include information about how the employee can appeal the decision.

BEST PRACTICE

At Travelife, we follow the ACAS (the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code of Practice if we need to assess the effectiveness of a disciplinary procedure.  You can click here to visit their website and here is a summary of the process they recommend for misconduct:

Establish the facts and inform the employee of the problem as soon as possible

Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the problem

Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting

Give the employee an opportunity to defend themselves and/or explain their actions

Decide on appropriate action and inform the employee

Provide employees with an opportunity to appeal

Ensure any trade union requirements, laws or other regulations have been taken into account

 

Communicating your disciplinary procedure

You might decide to have the procedure as part of your employment terms and conditions that employees sign when they join or as part of a staff handbook.  You may even simply explain the procedure to staff verbally when they join and then remind them of it a few times a year during a meeting. In addition, you should display a copy of the procedure in staff areas so that employees can always have access to it.

Travelife will expect you to demonstrate that all of your employees fully understood the disciplinary procedure when they joined the company, are reminded of it and can access it whenever they wish.  Here are some ideas for how to ensure all staff understand the procedure and are regularly reminded of it:

  • Include it in your terms and conditions of employment or staff handbook that they sign when they join.
  • Post it on the wall of a staff break room or on your company intranet.
  • Ensure it is discussed at team or department meetings at least once a year.

Travelife Certified properties must have processes in place that allow employees to discuss their employment with each other and to approach management with issues without fearing there will be any kind of retaliation against them.  In order to comply you will be expected to demonstrate that you:

Explain to new staff how they can approach senior management to discuss any employment issues.

Allow staff to join a trade union if one exists.

Allow staff to form an association (such as a committee) with an elected representative to discuss matters relating to their employment during paid working hours.

Have a grievance procedure that explains to staff the process that will be followed if they have concerns and complaints

Here are some guidelines about how to demonstrate that you are complying with these parts of the Travelife Standard.

Approaching senior management

This can be done verbally or in writing, however you will need to be able to show that new staff have been told how to approach senior management to discuss employment issues.  You could do this in one or more of the following ways:

Include it in your staff handbook.

Include it as part of the training schedule for new staff or on the agenda for inductions.

Freedom to join a union

Some destinations have laws or industry regulations that either prevent or force staff to join a trade union so you need to be familiar with the laws and regulations that apply to your business.  If your staff are able to join a union voluntarily, then you need to be able to show that there is no retaliation against them for doing so and that union representatives have access to your business to carry out their duties.  You can show this in one or more of the following ways:

Include a policy about trade unions in your staff handbook.

Allow unions to put information in your staff areas or on a company intranet.

Keep records of when union representatives visit your business.

Invite union representatives to talk at staff meetings once or twice a year.

Freedom to form an association or committee

You must allow staff to form groups with an elected representative that can discuss employment issues with each other then take them to management if they wish.  You should make reasonable arrangements for these associations to meet during work hours and management should not attend these meetings unless invited.  You must not retaliate against staff for belonging to these associations.  You can show you have done this in one or more of the following ways:

Include a policy about staff committees in your staff handbook.

Keep records of the time and location of meetings.

Keep records of any issues that were brought to management and what action was taken.

Staff must have a way of addressing concerns and raising a complaint about how something or someone is affecting them in the workplace. This must be in writing and communicated to them when they first join the company.  The procedure must be accessible to them at all times in the languages they understand.  Grievances are normally personal and are often sensitive.  Here are some examples:

Discrimination (pay, promotion, hours, workload)

Sexual harassment or abuse

Other types of harassment or abuse

Working conditions

Disagreement between an employee and a manager or another member of staff

The contents of a grievance procedure

It is up to you to decide how your procedure will work but you must ensure that the process is confidential, that the employee can go to another manager with a problem they are having with their immediate supervisor and there will not be retaliation against the employee for raising a grievance.  Here is an example of the main points your procedure should include:

Who the employee should first approach.

That the employee should raise the issue promptly and be able to explain all of the facts.

The employee and the manager they approach should first try to resolve the issue informally.

If that is not possible, the employer should arrange a formal meeting as soon as possible and carry out an investigation of the grievance to establish all of the facts.

That the employee can be accompanied at a formal meeting.

How the employee can appeal a decision made about what action will be taken.

That discussions will be kept confidential.

Communicating your grievance procedure

You should communicate your procedure in the following ways:

Include it in your employment terms and conditions and/or the staff handbook or include it in your induction training process.

Post it on a company intranet if all your employees have access to it and you provide tablets/computers for them to use and/or in a staff area such as a break room.

Travelife Certified properties must have processes in place that show they are not discriminating against any group of employees for any reason.  Here are some ways that you can put that into practice:

Human rights and labour policy

As part of your Travelife Certification, you will need to have a labour and human rights policy.  It will include a statement that commits your business to respecting and upholding labour and human rights along with examples of things you will do to prevent discrimination.   By communicating this policy to your staff, guests and suppliers, you are already helping to prevent discrimination by showing that you are committed to the issue and take it seriously.

Internal sustainability report

By including labour and human rights in your regular internal sustainability report, you can ensure that you are regularly monitoring how well you are meeting the commitments you outlined in your human rights and labour policy, you can be sure that you stay on top of these issues and that senior management are always involved.

External sustainability report

By including labour and human rights in your regular external sustainability report, you can ensure that your staff, guests and suppliers see that you are committed to the issue and take it seriously.

Disciplinary procedure

Your disciplinary procedure should include discrimination as serious misconduct and you should follow through by taking complaints about discrimination seriously and taking prompt, appropriate action.

Staff training

We recommend that all staff (including management) undergo regular training about how to prevent and end discrimination. You should keep records that show the content of this training, dates and who attended.  Alternatively, you may find that there is a good online training video in your language.  If so, you should ensure that staff view this at least once per year.

SELF CHECK

All over the world discrimination happens unconsciously due to social and cultural norms.  Answer yes or no to the questions below to check how well your business is doing.

Are there any females in senior management positions?

Are there any people from another minority group in senior management positions?

Do you have any local residents in senior management positions?

Are your female staff being paid the same as male staff doing the same role?

Are staff of foreign nationalities being paid the same as nationals doing the same role?

Do you decide which standard of staff accommodation employees get only based on their level of responsibility?

If you answered no to any of these questions then you may have an issue.  These are indicators that discrimination might be embedded in your company culture and we recommend that senior management have discussions about how to improve.

 

It is recommended that you do not hire anyone under the age of 18 to carry out work that is normally done by adults.  If you do then you will need to comply with all of the following:

Records

You will need to keep a log of all employees under the age of 18 except those on temporary internships or work experience placements that are part of their formal education.  The log must include all of the following:

Their name and date of birth

A record of all the hours they work

Details of any special working conditions that are in place to accommodate for their age

National laws and regulations

Most countries have laws or industry regulations about employing children.  You should ensure you know what these are and can demonstrate that you are complying with them.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Travelife expects all Certified Members that employ children to understand and comply with this. We have provided a separate guide that you can find in the Member Zone.

ILO Conventions 132/182

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has several regulations relating to the employment of minors that Travelife Certified Members are expected to understand and comply with if they employ children.

Travelife Certified properties must have a document that details the terms and conditions of their employment that each staff member has an opportunity to read and fully understand before they sign it and agree to being employed by you.  This could be a formal contract, a letter or a terms and conditions document.

Contents of your employment terms and conditions

The minimum inclusions are:

Wages/salary

Normal working hours

Overtime (maximum hours, rates of pay and/or time off in lieu of pay)

Days off per week

Leave/vacation entitlement

Any other legal requirements in your country

Employee handbook or policy

Whilst this is not a Travelife requirement, it is good practice to have a separate staff handbook that outlines the policies and procedures that apply to all staff, whereas the employment terms and conditions can be unique to each staff member.  Some companies combine both into one document and what you decide to do is up to you.  Here are some common things you might include in a staff handbook.  We have marked the ones that are minimum requirements of the Travelife Standard in bold and by including them in a staff handbook or your employment terms and conditions, you will have met part of the standard relating to communicating these to your staff:

Benefits (pension, childcare, medical insurance)

Bonuses and incentives

Disciplinary procedures

Grievance procedures

Uniforms

Code of conduct

Training and development

Your human rights, labour and sustainability policies

Union membership

Staff associations

Meals and accommodation

Transportation, parking

Communicating terms and conditions to staff

You are required to do all of the following:

Provide all staff with a copy of the terms and conditions of their employment.

Ensure it is in a language they can understand or verify that someone has read it to them in a language they understand.

Give them time to read and understand the terms.

Ensure they sign it.

Provide them with a signed copy.

Records

Information must be stored securely and confidentially about each employee that includes:

Proof of their age such as a copy of a passport, birth certificate or other official identification

Nationality

The following information should also be kept provided employees voluntarily provide it:

Gender

Ethnicity

Disabilities

This information helps you monitor things like working hours, pay and promotions so you can demonstrate that you are not discriminating, and can identify any employees that are children.

Communicating policies

You must ensure that the important employee policies and procedures are regularly communicated to your staff after they are first employed so that they are always aware of their rights and obligations.  These could include one or more of the following:

Posters and notices in staff areas such as break rooms

Staff intranet or a similar online resource

Training sessions that all employees must attend

Regular e-mail reminders or memos

Another method that ensures they are regularly reminded of their rights and obligations

Languages

All of your staff must be able to understand their entitlements, rights and obligations. If you hire staff that do not speak your local language/s, then you must ensure the following:

Written communications are translated into a language they understand

Verbal communications are translated by a person who is fluent in both languages

Please note that translations can be in any language they understand well.  For example, if your hotel is in Spain, your housekeeping staff speak Arabic and do not speak Spanish but they do speak English, then you can translate into English instead of Arabic.

Download this guide as a PDF English | Español

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that every human being is entitled to from when they are born until when they die.  At Travelife, we expect our Members to follow the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR).  It includes 30 essential rights that every human is entitled to. You can click here to read them in full and we have provided a summary of the most relevant areas for Travelife Members below.  The United Nations has also established special rights for children and indigenous peoples that Travelife Members are expected to respect.  You can find more guidance for this in the Member Zone.

They apply to every human being but there are certain people that Travelife Members are expected to pay special attention to:

Your staff – permanent, temporary, part time, casual, full time and contracted

Your local community

Your guests

Your suppliers and sub-contractors including the staff they employ

You need to pay special attention to people in your community that are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.  These are likely to include:

Children

People living in poverty and the homeless

The elderly

Women

Minority groups (ethnic, religious etc.)

People with disabilities or illnesses

People who are unfamiliar with your area and/or don’t speak the local language

Respecting human rights and having fair labour conditions are an essential part of being a more sustainable business and you should treat this subject as seriously as your environmental work.  In terms of your Travelife Certification, you need to ensure you are respecting and protecting human rights in all of the following areas of your business:

Staff recruitment – either directly or through agencies

Employment terms and conditions – especially wages, working hours, overtime and time off

General working conditions

Staff career progression including training opportunities

Supplier and sub-contractors

Community engagement and support

Your guests and staff – how they are treated and how they treat others

Staff training about human rights and safeguarding children

Guest communications

Your internal reports

Your public policies and reports

Environmental management

Using aspects of local indigenous culture at your business such as art, entertainment, food etc.

Retail

We expect every Travelife Member to respect all 30 of the rights set out in the UN Declaration, however some of them are specifically covered in the Travelife Standard so you will need to provide evidence that you comply with them in order to be Travelife Certified.  These are summarised below along with how they relate to your business, which business area they cover and the related criterion on the Travelife Standard.

EQUALITY

Summary of universal rights 

Every human being is entitled to their human rights wherever they go and cannot be treated differently because of their nationality, gender, age (but there are special rights for children), ethnicity, beliefs, thoughts, ideas, religion, marital status or sexual orientation.

How this applies to Travelife Certified Members

You cannot discriminate by offering different types of staff accommodation, break areas, food and beverage, access to essential services or levels of privacy and security.

Example: You cannot put staff of one ethnicity in worse accommodation than people of another ethnicity.

You must pay people the same wages for the same work.  Any differences in pay should relate to the level of responsibility and experience that is relevant to their job.

Example: You cannot pay a trainee housekeeper who was born in your country more than a trainee housekeeper who is an immigrant.

The terms and conditions of employment must be the same for everyone.  This includes hours, breaks, holidays, benefits, opportunities, training, disciplinary and grievance procedures.  The only exception is if you legally employ children, who you will need to make special conditions for so as not to hinder their education, health and general wellbeing.

Example: You cannot give men more training opportunities than you give women.

You cannot discriminate when you are recruiting staff.

Example: You cannot insist (publicly or privately) that only people under the age of 30 can be receptionists.

You must treat members of your community that are customers of your hotel the same as you treat your guests.

Example: If your restaurant takes guests from other hotels in your destination, you cannot deny or restrict access from members of your community.

All of your guests must have the same access to your services and facilities.

Example: You cannot refuse service at your bar to people of certain nationalities.

FREEDOM

Summary of universal rights

Everybody is free to travel within a country, to leave their country and return as they wish.

Everybody is free to enter or leave employment without penalty or retaliation.

Everybody is free to seek help from the law.

Every worker is free to join a union or any other group in order to peacefully ensure their rights are respected and to seek better conditions.

Nobody can be detained against their will.

No human shall be a slave and no human can enslave another.

How this applies to Travelife Certified Members

You must not collect any recruitment fees from an employee, or allow an employment agency to collect fees, in order for staff to either secure or maintain their employment.

Example: You should not use recruitment agencies that collect fees from employees, instead you should pay all of your recruitment costs.

You must not retain or withhold any documents belonging to an employee that would prevent them from travelling freely within or outside your country.

Example: You must never withhold original passports, visas or other travel documents.

You must not retain or withhold any documents belonging to an employee that would prevent them from leaving their employment and you must ensure that any employment agencies you work with do not do the same.  These include passports, other identity documents or financial documents (including credit/debit cards), unpaid wages and personal possessions.

Example: You cannot make it difficult for employees to leave your company by withholding items that belong to them or wages for hours that they have already worked.

You should never physically detain employees by preventing them from leaving areas, such as staff accommodation or work areas, by locking them in or by any other means.

Example: Whilst it is acceptable to restrict access to certain areas (storerooms, guest areas when off duty etc.), staff should be able to easily leave their accommodation and the premises.

You must allow all of your staff to join a union or a similar association, to form their own group that can discuss their employment terms and conditions, and approach management with complaints, ideas and suggestions without fear of retaliation.

Example:  Your terms of employment cannot restrict trade union membership or forbid employees to form an association.

You must not prevent any staff from reporting issues or seeking help from law enforcement or other legal authorities, or retaliate against them for reporting crimes against themselves or others.

Example:  If an employee is assaulted by a guest, they have the right to report the issue to local police.

LIVING STANDARDS

Summary of universal rights

Everyone is entitled to a fair wage that enables them to provide food, shelter, healthcare and education for themselves and their family, and to pursue opportunities in their life as they wish.

Everyone is entitled to rest and relaxation from work, including paid holidays.

Workers are entitled to safe, clean and uncrowded working and living conditions.

How this applies to Travelife Certified Members

You should pay all of your workers a living wage that is at least equal to the national or international minimum wage in your country.

Example:  All people who work on your premises, regardless of how they are employed and who they are employed by, should be paid at least the legal minimum wage.

You must ensure the hours, breaks, days off and paid time off comply with national or international standards at a minimum.

Example:  If overtime is allowed, you must pay overtime or give time off in lieu for hours worked above the legal maximum, provided the employee freely agrees to time off in lieu of wages.

You must ensure you provide your staff with any additional benefits and conditions as required by local and international regulations such as pension schemes, sick leave, maternity leave and so on.

Example:  In the UK all employers must pay into a staff pension scheme.

In many countries the legal minimums still do not provide for a good quality of life so Travelife Members should consider offering at least one benefit above the legal minimum that will improve staff quality of life.

Example:  In countries without free medical care, you could offer discounted medical insurance or vouchers to visit a local clinic.  In countries that already offer strong employee benefits through the local laws, you could offer childcare vouchers or higher pension contributions.

TRAVELIFE TIP

During your audit you may be required to show evidence that you are complying with local or international labour laws.  It is up to your auditor to decide how they will find that evidence but you can prepare by ensuring you can easily find all of the following documentation (click the links for more information):

Records of hours worked and wages paid

Terms and conditions of employment signed by employees

Evidence that you provide your employees with all of their legal entitlements

Evidence that you are not discriminating when you recruit staff

Evidence that all staff are treated equally

A document containing all the labour and human rights laws you must comply with

 

ACCESS TO ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Summary of universal rights

Everybody has the right to access public services in their country such as education, healthcare, water and sanitation.

Everyone has the right to an education and this must be free and compulsory during the elementary stages.

How this applies to Travelife Certified Members

You must ensure your operations, including any building work or renovations, do not prevent your staff or your community from accessing basic services such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation.

Example:  Your water use reduces water availability elsewhere in your community or you undertake building work that disrupts access to a local medical clinic.

You must ensure that your operations do not prevent children from accessing education.

Example:  Promoting excursions visiting local schools that could disrupt classes, or working hours that prevent parents from taking their children to and from school.

SUPPORTING HUMAN RIGHTS

UN Declaration 29 states that every human has a duty to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

How this applies to Travelife Certified Members

Any essential services that you provide for your guests should also be available for local people if these services do not exist in your local community.

Example:  If you are in a remote location and provide a medical clinic for your staff, you must offer a similar service to locals.

You should ensure your staff and suppliers understand the importance of respecting human rights.

Example:  You could provide human rights training to all new staff and include your human rights statement in your supplier communications.

You should take steps to prevent exploitation and discrimination at your hotel and in your community.

Example:  Training staff on how to identify and report instances of exploitation and discrimination.

You should use your influence as a business to try to educate people like suppliers, guests and community leaders about the importance of respecting human rights.

Example:  Publish your human rights policy and the work you have undertaken in this area in your public reports or add clauses to your supplier contracts that warrant that they will respect human rights.

RESPECTING PEOPLE'S PERSONAL LIVES, LIVELIHOODS, BELIEFS AND CULTURE

Summary of universal rights

Everyone has the right to privacy where they live, within their family and with their correspondence.

Nobody should be subject to attacks or accusations that may harm their reputation, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and has the right to defend themselves against accusations at an impartial hearing.

Everybody has the right to own possessions and property, and to only share them if they wish to do so.

Everyone has the right to participate in the cultural, artistic and scientific aspects of their community.

Everyone is entitled to hold intellectual property rights for their scientific, written or artistic creations. Nobody can copy or take someone’s original creations without their permission.

How this applies to Travelife Certified Members

All staff must be able to use toilet, bathing and changing facilities that are private, safe and secure.  Staff accommodation must have doors that staff can lock and in shared accommodation, there must be a secure place for each staff member to store their personal possessions.  Staff must be allowed to enjoy their accommodation without interference and any inspections must be carried out with proper notice to ensure their privacy is not disturbed.

Example:  You must provide a secure place for staff to store personal items when they are on duty.

You should have procedures in place that prevent any type of abuse or harassment at your place of work and provide training on human rights to your staff.

Example:  Your must have personal grievance procedures in place and any employees that harass or abuse other people must face appropriate disciplinary procedures.

The operations of your business should not prevent your staff or your community from participating in their cultural traditions, and should protect these traditions and way of life.

Example:  Educate your guests about how to interact with local cultures in a respectful way.

You should respect intellectual property by not copying, appropriating, trading or otherwise using the original creations or important artefacts of an individual or indigenous culture.

Example:  Ensure you do not sell local artefacts of cultural or historical importance, or seeking the input from indigenous representatives on incorporating indigenous art, food or music into your business.

What are your unique needs?

For some properties, respecting and supporting human rights will be very simple to implement and for others it will be more complex.  What you do depends on the size of your property and the destination you are in.

For example, a large business has a greater influence, so they have more responsibility than small businesses.  Also, if you are in a remote location where the majority of local people are indigenous, you will have very different considerations than a hotel by a major international airport.  You will need to do more research about how to protect indigenous peoples whereas an airport hotel might be primarily focussed on the labour aspects of human rights.

Another important consideration is what your local and national laws include.  For example, the European Union has many laws that protect human rights and fair labour conditions.  It is still important for properties in the EU to ensure they fully comply with the Travelife Standard, however, some aspects may be easier to follow because the local guidelines are clear and well enforced.

Members in countries that lack strong laws will need to do more work on this by researching international guidelines and may also find that their laws in their own country contradict the Travelife Standard.  For example, Travelife states that you must not discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation and some countries have this discrimination written into their laws.  For guidance on how to deal with unique issues like this, please contact the Travelife team in London.

What issues concern your community and your staff the most?

The best policy and plan will address things that are of unique concern to your community and your staff.  For example, if medical care is extremely expensive in your destination, then that would be something your property might have the power to help with, either through subsidising care for your own staff or by supporting initiatives that address the problem.

If your staff are concerned by homelessness or education, then focus on supporting those areas first.  The more involved your staff feel in deciding where to direct your efforts, the more likely they, your guests and your community will be to support you.

Keep records

A Travelife auditor will ask to see evidence that you are complying with all of the human rights and labour-related areas of the Travelife Standard.  Be sure that you have the relevant documentation and records available to show them.

Useful Links

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People

United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child

International Labour Organisation (ILO) 

Related Guides

Fair Labour Practices English | Español

Labour and Human Rights Policy English | Español

Avoiding Workplace Discrimination EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά

Child Safeguarding English | Español

Child Safeguarding Policy English | Español | Ελληνικά

Community Engagement EnglishEspañol

Community Engagement Policy EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά

Disciplinary Procedures EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά

Grievance Procedures EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά

 

 

 

Download this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

The exploitation and abuse of children happens in every country and across every social group.  According to a United Nations study on violence against children, it is estimated that 150 million girls and 73 million boys around the world experience sexual exploitation and violence.  The International Labour Organisation estimates that around 5.5 million children are in forced labour, including forced sexual exploitation.

The accommodation sector is frequently used by individuals and organised criminal groups to coordinate and hide this abuse.  This could happen in any of the following ways:

Hotel rooms are used for child sexual abuse including organised child prostitution.

Hotel rooms are used to hide children being trafficked for sexual abuse and other forms of forced labour.

Hotel contractors are using forced child labour, often without the hotel ever knowing.

Hotel guests are abusing or neglecting their own children during their hotel stays.

Hotel staff are behaving inappropriately toward children during their stays.

As an accommodation provider, you are in a unique position to help identify, prevent and report instances of child exploitation and abuse.  Saving just one child is important, but if the entire accommodation sector took a proactive approach to safeguarding children then our industry could have a major impact on improving the lives of millions of children around the world.

ADULTS ONLY ACCOMMODATION

It is important that this type of accommodation has a policy and plan that addresses child safeguarding in their destination.

We recommend that you spend time researching and learning about the different types of child exploitation and abuse that can occur.  Best practice would be to involve senior management in this process.  There are a number of excellent online resources to help you and we have included some below, but we strongly recommend that you also try to find information that is specific to your country or destination, and written in your local language.  If possible, you should reach out to trusted local organisations with expertise in this field such as police, a relevant government department, a school or a children’s charity.

UNICEF: This is a United Nations organisation dedicated to protecting the rights of children globally.

The Code: An international organisation dedicated to protecting children from sex tourism.

NSPCC: The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a UK-based charity but offers information and resources that are relevant globally, particularly related to the prevention of childhood abuse and neglect.

ILO: The International Labour Organisation undertakes a number of monitoring and prevention initiatives related to child labour.  Travelife follows ILO guidelines when assessing if a hotel is complying with our child labour requirements.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): This outlines the universal rights that all children should have.  Travelife follows the UNCRC when assessing if a hotel is upholding the rights of children.

An effective child safeguarding strategy will be specific to your business operations and your destination.  You should spend time thinking about what are the high-risk areas within the scope of your business and what you can do to address them. We recommend you ask the following questions and, ideally, produce a written risk assessment report that you can discuss with senior management to decide on next steps:

What children does our business directly come into contact with? (e.g. the children of guests)

What children does our business indirectly influence? (e.g. children in your local town, children who use the beach)

Who at our hotel is most likely to observe any abuse of children? (e.g. front office staff, housekeeping staff, other guests)

Who at our hotel has contact with children when their parents may not be present? (e.g. entertainment staff, food and beverage staff)

Do our guests have an opportunity to interact with local children in our destination? (e.g. excursions, local shopping and dining)

What areas of our business directly involve children? (e.g. babysitting service, kids club)

What groups of children are at high risk from exploitation and abuse in our destination? (e.g. have you observed homeless children in your area? Are orphanage or school visits offered to tourists?)

Do any of our suppliers use child labour? (e.g. have you checked that an off-site laundry contractor is respecting child labour laws?)

Answering these questions should help you identify the risk areas within your operations.  These might include:

Guests abusing their own children

Sexual abuse of children taking place in guest rooms

Guests engaging in child prostitution

The hotel being used to traffic children

Suppliers using child labour

Your own staff abusing or behaving inappropriately with children

Guests engaging with activities involving children such as orphanage or school visits, even if you do not offer the excursions yourselves.

IMPORTANT

Remember that often abuse is not obvious.  A common example in the accommodation sector is young bar or entertainment staff flirting with teenagers who are under the age of 18, perhaps inviting them to a party or simply complimenting the way they look in a suggestive manner.  Or perhaps a teenage guest invites an adult staff member to socialise with them and the staff member accepts, not realising they are under 18. This is inappropriate behaviour and should be noted within your risk assessment so that you can address it in your child safeguarding plan.

You should write a plan that outlines the steps you will take to prevent the exploitation and abuse of children. This should be agreed by senior management and cover all of the following key areas:

A statement that commits your business to safeguarding children.

Your formal policy and procedure for reporting suspected child abuse and exploitation to the appropriate authorities. This must include contact details for those authorities, such as phone numbers.

Staff training and awareness that includes what they can do to prevent and report child exploitation and abuse. This could include a training session for new staff, regular update training for existing staff and written information posted in staff areas and/or your staff handbook. This must be in the languages that all of your staff understand and cover the staff of your contractors.

Guest awareness. This should include written information in the languages your guests most commonly speak about your commitment to safeguarding children along with what they can do to prevent and report child exploitation and abuse.

We recommend you include the steps you will take to ensure your suppliers are also safeguarding children. This could include sending them information on your commitments and including contract clauses that commit them to upholding the same principles.

Keep records

A Travelife auditor may ask to see evidence that you are taking steps to safeguard children so we recommend you keep your policies, reports and plans updated and available for inspection.  If you provide training to your staff, you should keep records of dates, who delivered the training and which staff attended the session.

Monitoring and review

Ensure that one person in your organisation is always responsible for staying updated on issues relating to child safeguarding.  You should regularly review your policy and procedures to ensure that they are effective, making any changes as necessary.  We strongly recommend that an assessment of your child safeguarding activities is included in your regular internal sustainability reports, and that senior management are engaged with this.

Download this guide as a PDF English | Español

Objective

Create a written document that describes the types of misconduct you will discipline staff for, the consequences they will face and the procedure you will follow to discipline them.  This procedure will be explained to staff when they first join your business, must be accessible to them at all times and you must remind them of it at least once a year.

Make a list of the behaviours and actions that you feel are unacceptable.  These could include things like not wearing a uniform correctly, repeatedly being late, unexplained absence, abuse, sexual harassment, theft and violence etc.

Divide these behaviours into two categories such as ‘minor misconduct’ for things like not wearing the uniform correctly and ‘serious or major misconduct’ for things like theft.

It is important that you have lesser consequences for ‘minor misconduct’ than you do for ‘serious misconduct’. For example, you should explain what would lead to verbal or written warnings, demotion, suspension from work or dismissal. You must also ensure that the consequences your employees face do not include any of the following:

Physical punishment

Verbal abuse or insults

Withholding wages, food or accommodation

Confiscating personal property

Physical restraint or incarceration (locking someone up)

You can decide what procedure you will follow when you discipline staff.  Travelife recommends that this includes the following:

Ensuring that managers/supervisors establish the facts surrounding an accusation

Informing the employee of the issue as soon as possible

Holding a meeting with the employee to discuss the issue

Allowing the employee to be accompanied at the meeting by their own representative

Giving the employee an opportunity to defend themselves and/or explain their actions

Deciding on appropriate action and informing the employee

Providing employees with an opportunity to appeal the decision

Ensuring any trade union requirements, laws or other regulations have been taken into account

You should:

Make sure all new employees know about the procedure by including it in your terms and conditions of employment or a staff handbook that they sign when they join, or formally adding it to the agenda/schedule of your staff inductions.

Make sure it is always accessible by displaying it in a staff area such as a break room or on your company intranet if all employees have access to it and you provide tablets/computers for them to use.

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Useful Links

ACAS (the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code of Practice that Travelife use to assess Member disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Related Guides

Fair labour practices English | Español

Human rights English | Español | Ελληνικά

View this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

Objective

Create a written document that describes how staff can raise a complaint or concerns.  This procedure will be explained to staff when they first join your business, must be accessible to them at all times and you must remind them of it at least once a year.

Grievances are about the concerns staff have with how something or someone is affecting them in the workplace.  They are often personal and can be sensitive.  Here are some examples:

Discrimination (pay, promotion, hours, workload)

Sexual harassment or abuse

Other types of harassment or abuse

Working conditions

It is up to you to decide how your procedure will work but you must ensure that the process is confidential, that the employee can go to another manager with a problem they are having with their immediate supervisor and there will not be retaliation against the employee for raising a grievance.  Travelife recommends that your procedure details the following information:

Who the employee should first approach with their grievance.

That the employee should raise the issue promptly and be able to explain all of the facts.

The employee and the manager they approach should first try to resolve the issue informally.

If that is not possible, the employee should raise a formal complaint in writing and address it to a manager who is not the subject of the complaint.

The employer should arrange a formal meeting as soon as possible and carry out an investigation of the grievance to establish all of the facts.

That the employee can be accompanied at a formal meeting.

How the employee can appeal a decision made about what action will be taken.

That discussions will be kept confidential.

You should:

Make sure all new employees know about the procedure by including it in your terms and conditions of employment, in a staff handbook that they sign when they join, or formally adding it to the agenda/schedule of your staff inductions.

Make sure it is always accessible by displaying it in a staff area such as a break room or on your company intranet if all employees have access to it and you provide computers/tablets for them to use.

Ensure it is discussed at team or department meetings at least once a year or sent to staff as an e-mail or memo at least once a year.

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Useful Links

ACAS (the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code of Practice that Travelife use to assess Member disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Related Guides

Fair labour practices English | Español

Human rights English | Español | Ελληνικά

View this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

Objective

Put processes in place to ensure that you are taking steps to prevent and end any type of discrimination your staff might face.

Read the Travelife Detailed Guides to Human Rights and Fair Labour Practices in the Member Zone.  These explain the international laws that Travelife Certified Members must follow in relation to discrimination.

You should:

Have a human rights and labour policy that includes a commitment to preventing and ending discrimination. Make sure this is published publicly and communicated to staff, guests and suppliers.

Include an assessment of your anti-discrimination efforts against the commitments you made in your policy in your annual internal sustainability report.

Include the progress you have made and/or the steps you have taken to prevent and end discrimination in your public sustainability report.

Give anti-discrimination training and/or information to all staff at least once per year or ensure that all new staff are given this training.

At least every two years you should review and update your policies and procedures relating to preventing and ending discrimination at your business to ensure that you are continually addressing and improving your work in this area.

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Related Guides

Fair labour practices English | Español

Human rights English | Español | Ελληνικά

Human rights and labour policy English | Español

View this guide as a PDF English | Español  | Ελληνικά

Objective

Have a policy and procedures in place that specifically deal with the safeguarding of children.  This can be included in your general human rights policy or be a separate one.

This should be one paragraph.  It should show your understanding of the importance of safeguarding children and show that you are committed to take steps to protect children who are guests and in your community.

Read the Travelife Detailed Guide to Child Safeguarding (EnglishEspañol) and find out what are the high-risk areas for child exploitation in your destination.  Establish the safest way for your staff and guests to report issues.  We strongly recommend that you reach out to local law enforcement or a local child protection organisation for advice and assistance that is specific to your destination.

This should educate staff on how to identify, prevent and report any instances where children are being exploited or abused.  This should cover children staying at your property and children in your community.  You should include this in your training programme and through written information that is posted somewhere that all staff, including contractors, can easily see such as a break room and/or within your general staff handbook.  This must be in the languages that all of your staff can understand.

It is important that you can show that your senior management will support your child safeguarding initiatives. This can be done through a statement within the policy or by including physical signatures.

You should regularly review the effectiveness of the steps you have taken and include any relevant comments or recommendations in your internal sustainability reports to ensure that your initiatives remain effective and relevant to the issues your business faces.

View this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

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Examples

Telling staff how to give you feedback English | Español

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With Members in over 50 countries, it can be difficult for us to provide reliable information that covers all of the right regions. If you find a website that is reliable and contains information you think other properties in your country or region would find useful, then please e-mail the a link to info@travelife.org.

Industry Organisations and NGOs

ACAS (the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code of Practice that Travelife use to assess Member disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code that Travelife uses to assess fair labour practices, especially when limited local laws exist.

International Laws & Regulations

ILO (International Labour Organisation

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Regional Laws & Regulations

African Union Law

ASEAN Legal Database (search by member country or type of law)

The Commonwealth Charter

European Convention on Human Rights

UK Modern Slavery Act this covers the supply chain of some UK businesses.  E.g.  hotels contracted by some UK tour operators.

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you provide any “essential” services (for example, a medical centre or dentist), which don’t exist in the local communities?  If yes, are these available for local people to use as well as guests?

If you allow local people to use the facilities within your premises, are they treated in the same way as your guests (other than a charge for use)?

If in the last 2 years, you have acquired new land did you formally assess the impact on your local community? If negative impacts were found, is there a plan in place to minimise those impacts?

Or

In the last 2 years, no land (or access to resources) was acquired.

(Not required for your first audit)

Can you show that you do not prevent access to any part of the premises or surrounding areas which have public rights of access?

Do you have a written policy which shows a commitment to respecting children’s rights and a commitment to the protection of children from all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation?

Do you provide training or information for your employees on the protection of children? Does this training include telling employees how to identify and report any incidents to the local authority?

Do you have a policy to report all suspicious activities regarding children to the local authorities (such as organisations concerned with safeguarding children), whether by employees or guests?

Do you give information to guests about how to respect local people and culture? Does this information include how to dress suitably when they visit native communities?

Do you make sure that you do not block access to water and other services required by the local people?

Do you have evidence to show that your activities do not affect local sanitation supplies or the health of those living nearby?

Do you make sure that you do not block rights of way or block access to essential services such as health care and education?

Do you make sure that you do not stop local people from working or providing goods and services?

Do you make sure that, unless allowed by law, you do not sell any historical or archaeological products, either on the premises or during activities organised by you?

Have you identified special areas nearby (e.g. reef, wetlands, estuaries, mangroves, dunes) and do you have plans in place to help protect them? (Not required for your first audit)

Community engagement and support is an essential part of being a sustainable business because it offers so many benefits to you, your staff, your guests and your community.  These include:

Better relationships with your neighbours and other members of your community.

Staff can feel proud of the company they work for and it can offer ways for them to help with your initiatives.

Guests can feel better about staying with a company that cares about the people in the destination they are visiting.

It provides you with good stories to share on social media, marketing materials and in your sustainability report.

Your plan should cover each of the following aspects of community engagement and support:

Supporting the local economy

Respecting and protecting local culture, traditions and way of life

Supporting community improvement initiatives

Supporting and protecting access to essential resources and services

Items in bold text are minimum Travelife requirements and you should also try to do at least one or more of the things that are not in bold.

Buying products and services from locally owned and operated businesses.

Supporting local entrepreneurs by selling or displaying their products.

Getting involved with local economic development initiatives and organisations such as a chamber of commerce or a tourist office.

Encouraging your guests to visit locally owned attractions and activities.

Encouraging your guests to dine and shop outside of your property.

Items in bold text are minimum Travelife requirements and you should also try to do at least one or more of the things that are not in bold.

Providing information to guests about local customs and traditions, and how they can respect them.

Featuring traditional local dishes or beverages on your menus, and it is a good idea if somewhere on your menu you explain the history and significance of them.

Featuring art, crafts, music and architecture from local culture.

Supporting initiatives that are dedicated to protecting local culture and traditions, such as donating money, time or other forms of support to their cause.

Ensuring that your day-to-day operations do not negatively impact on the traditional way of life in your community.

Ensuring that any new building or renovation work does not negatively impact on the traditional way of life in your community.

Depending on your destination, it is best practice to consult with leaders or representatives from local cultures to ensure that you are correctly interpreting their traditions, art, food and so on. This is a minimum Travelife requirement if you have indigenous peoples in your area.

Providing donations of time, money or other services and support to initiatives in any of the following areas:

Education

Healthcare

Beautification

Facilities and services for vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, the homeless etc.

Clean-up projects such as beach cleans, picking up litter in parks

The establishment or protection of community facilities such as libraries, parks, leisure centres

Projects that improve living conditions such as new housing, road improvements and access to essential services

Attending and engaging with community meetings

Active involvement with any community initiatives, discussions or meetings around tourism development and tourism management.

Travelife requires that all Members ensure that any new building, renovation work and your day-to-day operations do not prevent community access to any of the following:

Essential resources such as water, energy and waste disposal

Essential services such as education and healthcare

Essential resources such as water, electricity, education and healthcare

Access to livelihoods such as fishing and farming

If your business has carried out historical building work or made past decisions that prevented access to essential resources and services, you must put steps in place to remedy that. For example, if your business operations prevented access to medical care that was previously available, then you should provide medical care to those members of your community that are affected, or fund an alternative.

What are your unique needs?

For some properties, community engagement will be very simple to implement and for others it will be more complex.  What you do depends on the size of your property and the destination you are in.  For example, a large business has a greater impact on its community, so it has more responsibility than small businesses.  Also, if you are in a remote location where the majority of local people are indigenous, you will have very different considerations than a hotel by a major international airport.  You will need to do more research about how to protect indigenous peoples whereas an airport hotel might be more concerned with things like internships for local students and supporting local charities.

 What issues concern your community the most?

The best policy and plan will address things that are of unique concern to your community.  We strongly suggest that you consult with your staff, read local news and talk to community leaders about what these issues might be before you decide on your plans and objectives.  That way you can ensure you are having a meaningful impact on your destination.

Keep records

A Travelife auditor may ask to see evidence that you have implemented community engagement and support initiatives.  Be sure that you have records of all of your activities available to show them.

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Related Guides

Community policy English | Español | Ελληνικά

Download this guide as a PDF EnglishEspañol

Muy pronto esta sección estará disponible en español.

Related Guides

Community policy EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά

Safeguarding children English | Español

Human rights English | Español | Ελληνικά

Useful Links

With Members in over 50 countries, it can be difficult for us to provide reliable information that covers all of the right regions. If you find a website that is reliable and contains information you think other properties in your country or region would find useful, then please e-mail the a link to info@travelife.org.

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you buy goods made/grown locally whenever possible and realistic to do so, instead of imported goods?

Do you use local companies to provide services whenever possible, instead of using national/multinational companies?

When buying products, do you look for and choose those which are:

- made from recycled products or are recyclable

- sustainably produced/sourced

- Fair Trade/Organic/FSC/MSC etc

- delivered in less packaging

- energy efficient and water saving

- environmentally sustainable.

(Not required for your first audit)

Do you give your suppliers and sub-contractors a copy of your sustainability policies? (Not required for your first audit)

One of the most effective ways to improve your environmental impact is to include sustainability in your procurement and purchasing procedures.  This can help you prevent things that are harmful to the environment, such as hazardous chemicals or plastic straws, ever reaching your property in the first place.  This immediately eliminates the need for you to worry about how to properly manage and dispose of them.

A good sustainable procurement that is well implemented and monitored can:

Reduce operating costs

Reduce legal risk

Reduce reputational risk

Improve operational efficiency

Improve community relations

Improve the local economy

Increase guest satisfaction

Improve staff loyalty

Travelife expects to see that you are taking steps to buy sustainable options wherever possible and this guide provides you with information and ideas about how to do that.  First, we recommend that you spend some time understanding why procurement should be at the centre of your sustainability work:

Buying locally can reduce the carbon emissions generated by shipping products over long distances and supports your community.  Even sourcing a product from a city in your region rather than from overseas can have a hugely beneficial impact on the environment and a positive economic impact on your region.

Replacing products used for cleaning, laundry and maintenance with ones that do not contain harmful chemicals can reduce your risk of a chemical accident or injury (depending on the product you have sourced), and reduce the amount of pollutants you are putting into the environment.

By properly assessing and managing your waste you should identify ways to buy less (including food) in the first place, thus reducing your operating costs and the overall environmental impact of producing items and shipping them to you.

Replacing equipment with modern and more efficient technology can sometimes seem like a big investment, but these purchases will pay off over time if they result in less energy, water or waste.  Consider not only how much less energy an LED lightbulb uses, but also how much longer it lasts.  Disposing of LED bulbs is much easier and less harmful to the environment than disposing of neon bulbs.

Finding suppliers that are committed to sustainability can reduce the amount of resources you have to put into waste management.  For example, a sustainable supplier might use less packaging and a local supplier might agree to collect packaging for reuse.

Replacing single-use plastics with sustainable options will not only reduce the amount of waste you produce but reduce the effort and any associated cost of sorting and/or disposing of it.

There is a relationship between how well staff are treated and the quality of work they produce.  By using suppliers that are committed to fair labour practices and respecting human rights, you are increasing your chances of sourcing products of a better quality and of receiving better service from your suppliers.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues so many guests want to see that you have made responsible choices for the products they are consuming, such as sustainably produced paper and coffee.

Using responsible suppliers and purchasing sustainable products is an important factor in risk management.  If guests find out you are contracting laundry services from a supplier engaged in modern slavery or use palm oil products that are causing rapid deforestation, then you are vulnerable to public criticism on social media and on internet review sites.

In order to make positive changes and the best decisions, you will need to understand your current situation.  You should look at all of the goods and services that you procure and consider if there is a better alternative.

What should the assessment cover?

Everything you need to source for your business operations:

Recruiting staff

Sourcing contractors (entertainers, builders, waste disposal, transport, technicians, any other contracted service)

Attractions, activities and tours that you offer, promote or sell to your guests

Energy, gas and water suppliers

Food and beverage purchasing

Office/stationery supplies

Cleaning and maintenance products (including grounds keeping)

Linens and towels

Equipment and machinery (appliances, vehicles, air-conditioning units, office and kitchen equipment)

Guest room amenities

Any other product or service you source

Questions to ask

As you review each area you should ask the following questions:

Could we source some or all of this locally?

Could we source this from a locally owned/operated business instead of a large corporate chain?

Could this be delivered to us over a shorter distance?

Could this be delivered in a more sustainable way? (e.g. by rail instead of by road).

Is there a way to reduce packaging or replace plastic packing with a sustainable alternative?

How can we reduce how much of this product we waste or consume?

Is there an alternative that is less harmful? (e.g. safer chemicals, paper instead of plastic).

Is there an alternative with a reputable sustainability certification (e.g. Rainforest Alliance coffee, FSC certified paper).

Can it be recycled?

Does the supplier/contractor/operator respect human rights?

Does the supplier/contractor/operator have a sustainability policy?

If the cost is higher, is this offset by other cost savings or operational benefits?

Example:  Product cost vs other operational benefits

Buying meat or vegetables locally might cost more, however, you can order more frequently in the actual quantities you need, rather than ordering items ‘just in case’ because a wholesaler only delivers to your business once a week.  In addition to environmental benefits and supporting local businesses, this offers five obvious operational benefits:

Less food being stored in refrigerators (saves energy)

Less processing of incoming goods (staff efficiency)

Less time spent rotating stock (staff efficiency)

Less food thrown away (cost and time spent on handling waste, money wasted on unused food)

Fresher food normally results in better quality dishes (guest satisfaction)

Start with the easiest solutions

If you are a large operation (or just a very busy hotel) then you might find a full review of your procurement and purchasing procedures is too much work to tackle at one time.  At Travelife we simply want to see that you are taking action and continuously trying to improve.  There are some easy ways to get started on that journey and we have provided some ideas in the table below.

Item/Service Possible quick fix
Coffee, tea and sugar Buy products that are Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certified.

 

  
Electricity Switch to a supplier that sources some or all of its electricity from renewable sources.

 

Paper products and cardboard

 

Buy paper products (printer paper, toilet paper, napkins, hand towels, tissues) that are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.
Alcohol Find a regional wine, beer or other type of alcohol to add to your bar menu.
Activities Review the list of activities you promote to guests to make sure they do not involve any of the Travelife Animal Welfare List of Unacceptable Practices.  If they do, immediately stop promoting them to guests.

 

Recruitment Check that any recruitment agencies you use are not breaching Travelife requirements by asking staff to pay for recruitment services or withholding things like passports and other important documents.  If they are, you should take steps to change that by asking them to eliminate those practices, ensuring that you are paying for your own recruitment costs and if necessary, change to a recruitment agency that complies with human rights laws.

 

Air-conditioning and refrigerator technicians Check that the contractor that services your air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment is properly qualified to safely service equipment containing ozone-depleting substances.

 

These are just a few ideas to get you started and with some research you will be able to find many more.

This is not currently a Travelife requirement but we recommend that you keep track of your progress so you can include it in your internal and public sustainability reports.  The more detail you can provide, the more useful this information is.  For example, if you switched to a local supplier, you might be able to estimate things like:

How much money this put into the local economy

How much fuel was saved due to the shorter delivery route and convert that to carbon emissions

These are great stories to tell your guests, your staff and your community.

Every year you should set procurement targets and goals.

Targets are usually numbers and they will need to be measured against a starting point and have a measurable deadline.  Ideally, you should have at least one short-term and one long-term target.  Here are some examples:

Reduce the amount of straws you purchase from 3,000 per year to 500 per year by the end of 2020.

Purchase 100% of your food from local businesses by 2025.

Goals can still include numbers, but they are usually about projects or actions.  You still need to know your starting point, have a deadline and be specific so it is easy to see if you succeeded.  You should also include a mixture of short and long-term plans.  Here are some examples:

Include human rights clauses in all of our supplier contracts by 2020.

Replace all of our air-conditioning units with less harmful equipment by 2025.

Your targets and goals should be:

Specific and easy for anybody to understand.

Easy to measure so that you can clearly see if they have been achieved.

Relevant and achievable. For example, there is no point in setting a goal that you cannot afford to implement or spending time on an area where you cannot have a lot of impact.

Have a deadline. This will help keep everyone on track.

Travelife expects Certified Members to have a continuous improvement cycle.  This means that you will need to complete the following steps at least once every year:

Reassess your procurement each year to look for ways to make improvements.

If you are keeping records, compare your performance to previous years.

Review how well you are doing with reaching your targets and achieving your goals.

Recommend improvements to make over the next year.

Set new short-term goals and targets.

Include your findings in an annual report that is reviewed and discussed by senior management.

Include the appropriate parts of your findings in your annual public sustainability report. This normally includes progress against current goals and targets along with any new goals and targets.

 The procurement assessment

What improvements have we made since last year?

How many products have you replaced with sustainable alternatives?  Has sustainable procurement improved your energy, water and chemical use?  Has procurement reduced your waste? What about human rights issues and community engagement?

What is currently being done to procure more sustainably?

You should list the things you are currently doing and try to assess how well they are working.

Are there ways to further improve or a new issue you should address?

For example, if you have already made some core changes, should you focus on one area where you can make a real impact in the next year, such as human rights, plastics or biodiversity?

What short and long-term improvements could you make?

This will help you plan for making further improvements.  You should group these into short-term and long-term initiatives, along with ones that are low cost and ones requiring a bigger investment.

View this guide as a PDF English | Español

View this as a PDF English | Español

We have provided some tips and ideas to help you think about how you can procure more sustainably.

QUICK FIXES

These are all either low cost, no cost or low effort.

Consider ordering foods that you use in high volume in bulk to reduce packaging but at the same time, check that you are not throwing away unused food because you are ordering it in bulk but not using it quickly enough.

Before eliminating plastics from your kitchen or stores, research the possible benefits they have on food waste. For example, a plastic-wrapped cucumber lasts significantly longer than an unwrapped one.

Review your options for sourcing food locally instead of using suppliers in other towns/cities so that you can purchase products as you need them rather than ordering things ‘just in case’. Any cost increase will almost certainly be offset by reducing the amount of food you purchase that is wasted.  Remember that there is a cost involved in disposing of waste too.

Ask the suppliers of things like bathrobes and slippers to stop using plastic wrapping.

Replace plastic laundry bags with washable fabric bags that can be reused.

Review your consumable guest room amenities and look for sustainable alternatives that do not use plastic and/or are easy to recycle. For example, soap that is wrapped in sustainably sourced paper instead of plastic or replacing plastic pens with sustainably produced pencils.

LED lights are always more efficient and better for the environment than halogen or fluorescent bulbs. As you replace lightbulbs, source only LED options in the lowest wattage possible.  Make sure they all come from the same supplier because using different types and makes of lighting on the same circuit reduces the life span of bulbs, so always purchase the same brand and technology.

Buy recycled ground glass for pool filters instead of sand.

Verify that any waste collection suppliers are disposing of your waste in a sustainable manner. If not, you might be able to change to a different supplier or pressure your existing one to improve their performance.

Ask your suppliers to reduce, reuse or eliminate packaging. If that is not possible then ask them to find more sustainable alternatives, e.g. using recycled shredded paper to protect fragile items instead of polystyrene.  You might be able to return the shredded paper to them so they can reuse it.

Dedicate some time to checking that products that claim they are environmentally friendly or biodegradable definitely are. For example, some plastics claim to be biodegradable yet still take decades to degrade or do not degrade at all in marine environments and/or release toxic chemicals during the process.

Buy recycling bins with clear signage that it is easy for anyone to understand how to separate their waste. Graphics work much better than text. If you would like to use text, you need to make sure it is available in the main languages of your employees and guests.

Research product labelling in your destination so you know how to find reputable labels for things like free-range eggs or meat, eco-friendly cleaning products and so on. Be sure to investigate this thoroughly as some products make misleading claims.  For example, in some countries the definition of ‘organic’ includes things that can still be harmful, it is just that they are of natural origin.

If your destination has more than one water supplier, check to see if you can switch to one that takes water conservation seriously.

If you provide a hose to rinse salt off scuba diving equipment or other items used in marine activities, consider buying a tank to dip the items into that is refilled as required. This will still remove salt from equipment and save a significant amount of water.

Conduct a thorough review of why you are using products containing hazardous substances. Unless there is a legal or hygiene reason you should ask yourself if there is a less harmful alternative and whether you are sure that staff are using the minimum amount required.

Spend some time researching less toxic alternatives to your cleaning products. For example, white-distilled vinegar makes an effective, cheap and environmentally friendly cleaner for glass, mirrors and to prevent or remove limescale.

Verify that any waste collection suppliers are disposing of hazardous waste in a sustainable manner. If not, you might be able to change to a different supplier or pressure your existing one to improve their performance.

MODERATE COST AND EFFORT

Review the items that are being shipped to your property over long distances and check for options to source them locally or from a supplier with a lower environmental impact. For example, a supplier using rail freight may have a lower carbon footprint than one using road freight.

When replacing equipment, always buy the most modern and efficient alternative.

Replace individual bathroom amenities, such as soap and shampoo, with dispensers that can be refilled from a bulk supply. This will reduce plastic waste and operating costs.

Many guests are now used to using personal phones, tablets and other devices to get information they need. Consider sourcing technology that can present information you currently print on screen.  For example, having an app developed that guests can install on their phone or installing touch screens in central areas.  You still need to have information available for guests who do not have personal devices.

Replace decorative outdoor lighting with solar powered options, leaving electric lighting for emergency lights and those required to stay on all night for health and safety.

Using timers and sensors to control lighting, air conditioning and equipment is an investment that will pay off over time in energy savings. You can start in back-of-house and central areas before investing in technology for guest rooms.

If you decide to install or replace an automatic key card activation system for guest room electricity, choose a system that is linked electronically to the unique room key. This will prevent guests from using other types of cards to override the system and thus leave the power on when they are not in the room.

Consider using a liquid pool cover that not only reduces the loss of heat and water, but can also reduce the depletion of pool cleaning chemicals.

Install aerators and flow restrictors in all bathrooms to reduce water flow. It is important that you have both a procedure and budget for regularly checking and replacing these as they do corrode over time.

Installing water meters on things like irrigation systems and swimming pools is a reliable and cost-effective way to check for leaks. If you regularly record the readings and suddenly notice an increase, it is highly likely that you have a leak and can fix it quickly, thus preventing water waste and potentially a more costly repair.

Invest in automatic chemical dosing systems to control chemical use.

HIGHER INVESTMENT WITH LONG-TERM REWARDS

Using salt to keep pool water clean is an excellent solution for smaller pools and prevents the production of more harmful waste from pool chemicals.

Install technology such as motion sensors and/or timers in guest rooms, central areas, outdoors and in your grounds to ensure that lighting and equipment is only used when needed. Do thorough research when sourcing the best solutions for your property to ensure you are using the most efficient technology that will have the highest impact for the longest amount of time.  These generally work better than key cards to control energy use in guest rooms.

Replace older equipment with the latest most efficient technology and develop a plan and budget to continue doing this indefinitely. This applies to large equipment like air-conditioning units and restaurant fridges through to small items like kettles and coffee makers, but you should prioritise equipment that draws the most power or emits the most pollutants.

Install air curtains over entrances and large windows that are continually open to the outside in hot weather. This will trap cold air inside resulting in lower energy costs from regulating the room temperature.

Consider installing solar panels and other renewable energy solutions that best suit your property.

Research options for installing waste water or grey water recycling systems, including any relevant legislation and permits you might require.

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you promote your sustainability programme and achievements visibly in guest areas not hidden from view? (Not required for your first audit)

Do you ask your guests to support your environmental, social and community work by, for example, donating money or joining in with an activity?

Do you already have a Travelife award? If yes, so you display this award publicly?  If no, do you understand the need to display the award once achieved?

Do you give information to your guests about the local culture, customs and traditions as well as cultural and natural heritage?

Do you give information to your guests and employees about how they can help to protect local historical, archaeological, culturally and spiritually important buildings and places?

Do you give information to guests about to be a responsible visitor, especially when visiting natural areas, local communities and culturally or historically sensitive sites? (not required for your first audit)

Do you give information to your guests and employees on using public transport?

Do you promote the opportunity to experience the destination and culture to your guests?