California Garment Labor Law: Global Implications
According to Narayanasamy, the law closest to SB 62 is a due diligence law that Germany passed in July and will come into force in 2023. It requires companies with 3,000 or more employees in Germany to take ‘appropriate measures’ to ensure human rights and environmental protection in their supply chains, and the EU has a potentially similar effort underway, with an expected proposal on what its legislation would look like on due diligence by the end of the year. However, German law does not establish the liability of brands for violations in their supply chains, and it is not clear whether the EU will or not.
“The real concern of civil society groups is [whether the due diligence law] is there going to be legislation that will hold companies accountable when workers’ rights are restricted? Narayanasamy said. “The biggest impact this California bill will have – and we certainly intend to use it to spark debate [in the UK] – that is, it is quite possible to include liability clauses in legislation which protects workers’ rights. And on top of that, the brands themselves can support that. “
Calls for brand responsibility have multiplied in Asia. For example, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance released a legal strategy in July to hold global brands accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains. “Lawmakers at the nation state level can now look to the United States and say, ‘Okay, there is a legal precedent that can be applied,'” said Elizabeth Cline, director of advocacy and advocacy. policies at the nonprofit Remake, which campaigned for SB 62.
The California Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the bill, said Vogue Business earlier this month that the liability provision places an unfair burden on brands. “I don’t think there is really an appreciation for the risk of legal liability that will be placed on companies,” said Ashley Hoffman, group policy advocate. When asked to comment after the bill was passed, the House simply said: “We are disappointed that the bill has been enacted.”