This case study originally appeared in the AustralianSuper Modern Slavery Statement FY20, page 11.
AustralianSuper is a founding partner and contributor to the Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF).
The cleaning sector is one of the highest-risk sectors for modern slavery. Cleaners have often been susceptible to wage theft, lack of legally-mandated entitlements (like the payment of superannuation and leave), income insecurity, poor working conditions and unethical contracting approaches.
Understanding the need to address these issues for the long-term positive outcome of members, many of whom are in the cleaning industry, AustralianSuper sought a collaborative solution and in 2012, jointly founded CAF.
CAF’s mission is to improve labour practices in the Australian cleaning industry. CAF works with cleaners, tenants, contractors, property owners, facility managers, and investors across the cleaning supply chain to ensure ethical labour practices through certification of commercial real estate assets in line with their 3 Star Standard. The CAF 3 Star Standard takes a multi-stakeholder approach to ensuring that all cleaning staff are compensated according to law and the best labour practices are upheld.
Around 90,000 AustralianSuper members are employed in the cleaning industry, so this is an important initiative for AustralianSuper. Our continued involvement with CAF helps ensure members in the high-risk cleaning industry are paid their due compensation, including their superannuation guarantee and are treated in an ethical manner. Additionally, as a large investor in the Australian property market, CAF certification also indicates that the property in question is operating sustainably when it comes to its labour practices, helping mitigate modern slavery risks and protecting investment value and members’ outcomes in the long term.