Better Work


Established in 2015, Better Work Bangladesh has been an essential facilitator of growth and expansion of the Ready-Made Garment industry ─ one of the economy’s largest export-oriented drivers. In Bangladesh, Better Work is focused on promoting decent work, empowering women and inclusive economic growth. Launched in 2020, Better Work Bangladesh's Learning Hub has risen to meet industry demand for institutional capacity building of constituents and has since been a key driver of knowledge sharing.

Brands and Retailers





1.3 Million

Better Work Bangladesh factories had 50 per cent higher export revenues and volumes than non-participating factories. After enrolling in Better Work, factories receive 5 per cent higher prices from their clients.

Over 600 female sewing operators trained and nearly 400 women promoted to supervisory roles through the Gender Equality and Returns (GEAR) programme.

Workers at factories participating in Better Work earn an hourly wage up to 3 - 4 per cent higher than workers in non-participating factories.

103 factories participated in maternity health and protection initiatives, which promote paid maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks, medical benefits and day care facilities in garment factories

Better Work Bangladesh

Established in 2015, Better Work Bangladesh has been an essential facilitator of growth and expansion of the Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry ─ one of the economy’s largest export-oriented drivers.

Focused on promoting decent work, empowering women and inclusive economic growth, the programme has grown to include about 450 participating factories. Working with 48 brands and retailers, Better Work Bangladesh impacts around 1.3 million workers, 50 per cent of whom are women.

In its first phase (2014 – 2017), the programme contributed to the work of the ILO to assist the Government of Bangladesh to better align the country’s labour laws with international labour standards and best practices. This was a period marked by labour law amendments and improvements in union registration criteria adhering to the ILO’s fundamental constitutions on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. In Phase II (2018 – 2022), the programme expanded its operations from Dhaka to the port city of Chittagong. To respond to evolving industry needs, the programme adopted an agile service model and initiated several special initiatives, such as the Gender Equality and Returns (GEAR) programme, maternity health and protection initiatives and the Factory Ambassador Programme (FAP).


Our Strategic Goals

Better Work Bangladesh’s 2022-2027 strategic phase will work to achieve the following outcomes:

By 2027, employers and workers and their representatives in the Better Work programme uphold and are protected by national labour laws and fundamental principles and rights at work; and enterprises in the sector that have emerged from the COVID-19 crisis are more sustainable, resilient and inclusive.

By 2027, Better Work’s impact on workers, businesses and compliance is sustained by national institutions that leverage the programme’s approaches, data and evidence.

By 2027, enterprises that participate in Better Work have adopted policies and practices on responsible business conduct that support the realization of decent work.

By 2027, Better Work’s learnings and methods have created positive social and environmental impacts beyond the programme as they are adopted in other sectors.

Latest news

Featured 8 Mar 2024

Stitching progress together: The transformative power of maternity protection in Bangladesh

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, Sharmin’s story illustrates the groundbreaking strides made in maternity protection—a testament to the collaborative efforts of ILO-IFC Better Work Bangladesh and UNICEF through the Mothers@Work initiative

Contribution to Priority Themes

Better Work Bangladesh will contribute to the following priority themes set forth in the global Better Work strategy. These themes crosscut the strategic goals and will be present in our factory engagement, research, policy influencing and content produced as well as affect how we allocate our human and financial resources.

Productivity and Business Performance

Business Performance

Under the Japan-funded Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) programme on responsible business conduct, capacity development and awareness-raising initiatives will be implemented for government officials, business and trade bodies. Employers’ associations and workers’ organizations will be trained on productivity skills at the enterprise level. 

Data and Evidence

Data and Evidence

As an industry convener, Better Work Bangladesh plays the pivotal role of being a knowledge broker. In line with the digitalization of service delivery, the collection and dissemination of data and evidence between Better Work, ILO and IFC, and national constituents will be bolstered, which will include Better Work sources and others in areas such as compliance, environment and gender. 


Environmental Sustainability

Better Work Bangladesh will deepen and expand its partnerships, including with the IFC on cleaner production, energy efficiency and chemical waste management. We will also work with relevant technical units of the ILO and partners to support enterprises to address the negative impacts of the apparel industry on the environment and on the surrounding communities. 

Gender Equality and Inclusion

Gender Equality & Inclusion

Better Work Bangladesh will work to reduce discrimination on the factory floor, address the gender pay gap, skills gap and digitization of wages, and support women’s representation in leadership roles in trade unions, factories, employer organizations and the public sector. 

Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational Safety and Health

Better Work Bangladesh will continue to promote safer workplaces through the safety committee as part of OSH management systems. The collaboration with RMG Sustainability Council and other industry actors will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of resources used for the capacity-building programmes on OSH and Industrial Safety. 

Social Dialogue

Social Dialogue

Better Work Bangladesh will work in conjunction with other ILO technical units to promote strong social dialogue. Both employer and worker organizations will be supported in strengthening freedom of association and collective bargaining and enabling social dialogue in the workplace.

Social Protection

Social Protection

In collaboration with the ILO, GIZ, and tripartite constituents, a number of Better Work Bangladesh buyer partners have opted for a trial of the Employment Injury Insurance (EII) scheme in their respective supply chains. The trial will look to reinforce the EII scheme in line with ILO Convention 121, spearhead research on employment-related injuries, and raise awareness about the benefits of EII. 



Better Work Bangladesh will leverage in-depth data pertaining to wage payments to inform and support national constituents in establishing fair and equitable wage setting mechanisms, culminating in adequate minimum wages and potentially, higher productivity.

Key Local Partners



Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) Ministry of Commerce Bangladesh Export Processing Authority


Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)


National Coordination Committee on Workers Education (NCCW) The IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC)
Brands and retailers

Brands and retailers

48 Brands

Reports and Publications

  • Annual Reports
  • Discussion Papers
  • Research Briefs
  • Reports
  • Strategies
  • Fact Sheets
  • Tools and Guidelines

Development partners

Kingdom of Netherlands
from the people of Japan (1)

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