Much like ISO 9000 for quality management and ISO 14000 for environmental management, the SA 8000 provides a set of standards for evaluating social accountability in the following areas:
1. Child Labour
Any person less than 16 years of age, unless local minimum age law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, in which case the higher age would apply.
2. Forced Labour
Companies shall not engage in or support the use of forced labor, nor shall personnel be required to lodge 'deposits' or identity papers upon commencing employment with the company.
3. Health and Safety
The company, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards, shall provide a safe and healthy working environment and shall take adequate steps to prevent accidents and injuries to health arising out of, associated with or occurring in the course of work, by minimizing, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment.
4. Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining
Companies shall respect the right of all personnel to form and join trade unions of their choice and to bargain collectively.
Companies shall not engage in or support discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, or political affiliation.
6. Disciplinary Practices
Companies shall not engage in or support the use of corporal punishment, mental or physical coercion, and verbal abuse.
7. Working Hours
The company shall comply with applicable laws and industry standards on working hours. The normal workweek shall be as defined by law but shall not on a regular basis exceed 48 hours. Personnel shall be provided with at least one day off in every seven-day period.
Companies shall ensure that wages paid for a standard working week shall meet at least legal or industry minimum standards and shall always be sufficient to meet basic needs of personnel and to provide some discretionary income.
9. Management Systems
Top management must define the company's policy for social accountability and labor conditions to ensure that it includes a commitment to conform to all requirements of this standard as well as national and other applicable laws.