SA8000® Standard

SA8000 Standard: 2014

The SA8000 Standard is the central document of our work at SAI. It is one of the world’s first auditable social certification standards for decent workplaces, across all industrial sectors. It is based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, conventions of the ILO, UN and national law, and spans industry and corporate codes to create a common language to measure social performance.  It takes a management systems approach by setting out the structures and procedures that companies must adopt in order to ensure that compliance with the standard is continuously reviewed. Those seeking to comply with SA8000 have adopted policies and procedures that protect the basic human rights of workers. Below are the nine elements in the SA8000 Standard.

Mutual Recognition: SAI seeks to increase transparency into the SA8000 Standard and reduce the duplication of audits by increasing the recognition and acceptance of SA8000 as a high quality certification by buyers, initiatives, standard setting bodies, and others. For the results of the GSCP Equivalence Process comparison of SA8000:2008 against the GSCP Reference Code (social), please click here.

Certification: Please note that currently SA8000 certification is only available to the SA8000: 2008 Standard. Beginning May 2015 and ending May 2016, a one-year transition period will commence allowing certification to either SA8000: 2008 or SA8000: 2014. Please see the SAAS Notification: Certification of Clients to SA8000: 2014 - which details the timeline for upgrading certificates from 2008 to 2014 - here

Beginning May 2016, certification will only be available to SA8000: 2014. Thus, as of May 2016, all certifications to SA8000: 2008 must be transitioned to SA8000: 2014. A notification will be sent to Certification Bodies by Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) detailing the steps that need to be taken in order to be qualified to perform SA8000:2014 certification audits.

SA8000 is a universally applicable standard and, in principle, SA8000 certification is possible in any state or industry. However, in order to maintain the Standard’s commitment to respecting the spirit and norms of ILO standards, there are several specific exceptions to SA8000 certification. Please find the list of exceptions here.

Training: Please note that currently Basic and Advanced auditor courses will be taught according to SA8000:2008, with some introductory information about SA8000:2014. In November 2014, the SA8000:2014 Revision Course - Part 1 will become available online. Beginning April 1, 2015, Basic and Advanced auditor courses will be taught according to SA8000:2014. Please see this page for a detailed explanation of changes to training courses.


  1. Child Labor
  2. Forced or Compulsory Labor
  3. Health & Safety
  4. Freedom of Association & Right to Collective Bargaining
  5. Discrimination
  6. Disciplinary Practices
  7. Working Hours
  8. Remuneration 
  9. Management Systems

Download the SA8000 Standard - 2014 Version [PDF, 267KB]

SA8000:2014 Revision Process Please see this page for an overview of the SA8000: 2014 revision process, which includes a Discussion and Analysis report on the Public Consultation period.

There are also a series of documents available to support auditors and implementers of the SA8000 Standard; these are:

SA8000 Standard 2014 Documents:

SA8000 Standard 2008 Documents:

  1. Child Labour: No use or support of child labour; policies and written procedures for remediation of children found to be working in situation; provide adequate financial and other support to enable such children to attend school; and employment of young workers conditional. 
  2. Forced orCompulsory Labour: No use or support for forced or compulsory labour, including prison labour; no required 'deposits' - financial or otherwise; no withholding salary, benefits, property or documents to force personnel to continue work; no employment fees or costs borne in whole or in part by workers; personnel right to leave premises after workday; personnel free to terminate their employment; and no use nor support for human trafficking.
  3. Health and Safety: Provide a safe and healthy workplace; prevent potential occupational accidents; remove, reduce risks to new and expectant mothers; provide personal protection equipment and medical attention in event of work-related injury; appoint senior manager to ensure OSH; establish a Health and Safety Committee, comprised of a well-balanced group of management representatives and workers; instruction on OSH for all personnel; system to detect, avoid, respond to risks; record all accidents; hygiene- toilet, potable water, suitable spaces for meal breaks, sanitary food storage; decent dormitories- clean, safe, meet basic needs; and worker right to remove from imminent danger.
  4. Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining: Respect the right to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively. All personnel are free to: organize trade unions of their choice; and bargain collectively with their employer. A company shall: respect right to organize unions & bargain collectively; not interfere in workers’ organizations or collective bargaining; inform personnel of these rights & freedom from retaliation; where law restricts rights, allow workers freely elect representatives; ensure no discrimination against personnel  engaged in worker organizations; and ensure representatives access to workers at the workplace.
  5. Discrimination: No discrimination based on race, national or social origin, caste, birth, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political opinions and age.  No discrimination in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination, and retirement. No interference with exercise of personnel tenets or practices; prohibition of threatening, abusive, exploitative, coercive behaviour at workplace or company facilities; no pregnancy or virginity tests under any circumstances.
  6. Disciplinary Practices: Treat all personnel with dignity and respect; zero tolerance of corporal punishment, mental or physical abuse of personnel; no harsh or inhumane treatment.  
  7. Working Hours: Compliance with laws, collective bargaining agreements (where applicable) & industry standards; normal workweek, not including overtime, shall not exceed 48 hours; 1 day off following every 6 consecutive work days, with some exceptions; overtime is voluntary, not regular, not more than 12 hours per week; required overtime only if negotiated in CBA.
  8. Remuneration: Respect right of personnel to living wage; all workers paid at least legal minimum wage; wages sufficient to meet basic needs & provide discretionary income; deductions not for disciplinary purposes, with some exceptions; wages and benefits clearly communicated to workers; paid in convenient manner – cash or check form; overtime paid at premium rate; prohibited use of labor-only contracting, short-term contracts, false apprenticeship schemes to avoid legal obligations to personnel.
  9. Management System: Facilities seeking to gain and maintain certification must go beyond simple compliance to integrate the standard into their management systems and practices. 

Download SA8000:2014 Standard [PDF, 267KB]

Download SA8000:2008 Standard [PDF, 159KB]

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