Principles of Corporate Citizenship
Corporate Citzenship Resource Center, U.S. Department of Labor
These principles were selected by examining existing practices identified by other researchers, organizations, and companies themselves as demonstrating employer commitment to workers, their families, and their communities. We have not included references to other behaviors consistent with responsible citizenship, such as protecting the environment or making charitable donations, not because we consider them any less important or unworthy of attention, but only out of respect for the scope of the Department of Labor's mission, with its focus on workers and workplaces. This emphasis is especially critical at this time with the size and scope of the federal government's scaling back, leaving workers throughout the economy less likely to have access to publicly-supported training, retraining, job search assistance, health care, and other such services consistent with these principles.
Employers have a responsibility to create and maintain workplaces that allow workers to be both productive workers
and caring and responsible family members. Some examples of family-friendly policies that support this dual
demand include flexible work schedules, job sharing, flexiplace, parental leave, subsidized day care, time off for
parent-teacher meetings, and sick-child days. Such family-friendly policies not only help working families, but also
benefit employers by attracting the best workers, decreasing turnover and absenteeism, and improving productivity
Companies should provide all of their employees with the basic security represented by a living wage, and health
care and pension benefits. This commitment can also be a wise business strategy creating a competitive advantage for
companies vying for a world-class work force.
Investment in Employees
Investments in employees are at least as important and profitable as investments in plant and equipment. Companies
that ensure broad opportunities for education and training for basic skills, new skills, and career advancement have
acknowledged this fact and reaped the rewards.
Partnership with Employees
Greater worker involvement in the work process and work product make corporations more productive and provide
workers with a greater sense of commitment and security. All employees, management and front-line alike, should
have a voice in the workplace and share the burdens and benefits of good times and bad. A number of innovative
structures and programs strengthen these new roles of workers. Other opportunities to share in the good times can be
had through profit sharing or gainsharing programs, employee stock ownership plans, or bonus incentives. And if
companies are forced to shed units and workers to stay in business, the responsible ones offer alternatives to pink
slips, such as outplacement services, severance payments, and new training.
Safe and Secure Workplace
Employers are responsible for protecting the health and safety of their employees in the workplace. This is most
effectively met through management commitment and employee involvement. Failure to provide a safe workplace
can lead to injuries and fatalities, and injuries alone cost the economy more than $110 billion a year.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
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