Frequently Asked Questions

About GRASP

What is GRASP?

GRASP stands for GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice. GRASP is a voluntary ready-to-use module designed to assess social practices on the farm. The requirements catalogue consists of 11 standardized requirements and one additional QMS requirement that address specific aspects of workers’ health, safety and welfare. GRASP is designed to extend the social standards of your GLOBALG.A.P. Certification.

Application options: Do I have to apply for GRASP – is this a mandatory Add-on?

GRASP does not form a mandatory part of the accredited GLOBALG.A.P. certification. GRASP is a voluntary Add-on module – however suppliers and/or retailers can decide to make GRASP their obligatory requirement.

Application options: I have a certificate of a benchmarked scheme (Option 3, Option 4), can I apply for a GRASP assessment?

Yes, GRASP is also combinable with fully benchmarked schemes/AMCs.

Application options: I have applied for a localg.a.p. scheme – can I also apply for GRASP?

GRASP complements the Workers’ Health, Safety and Welfare chapter of the GLOBALG.A.P. primary production standards, so if the localg.a.p. scheme covers that chapter, too, GRASP assessments can be an option. Whether GRASP can be combined with the localg.a.p. scheme or not depends on the rules of the localg.a.p. scheme owner.

Application options: We have several core family members who are employed by the producer/producer group. Are the control points applicable?
  • Yes, if there are valid contracts, they shall also be checked and they also have to comply with the GRASP criteria.
  • No, if only core family members are working at the company.
Application options: How do I register part-time employees or seasonal workers?

For GRASP every worker has to be registered in the GRASP checklist, this means every employee counts as one: Seasonal and temporary workers, permanent employees, subcontracted workers, part-time or full time. If an employee has consecutive short time contracts, that employee counts as one. The producers have to declare the number of employees that they have employed in the period till the date of the assessment.

Application options: What about migrant workers vs EU workers?

GRASP checklist asks for the registration of the workers´ origin, however not specifying EU and non-EU migrants. The reason is that this part of the checklist shall be used also outside of the EU, thus the Technical Committee has decided to stick to national borders. This means:

A national migrant is travelling to work within the country, e.g. from South-Italy to North-Italy. A cross-border migrant is crossing the national borders for work, e.g. the Polish worker in Italy, workers from Africa in any European country etc.

Assessment procedure: I already have a GLOBALG.A.P. certificate and it is still valid for several months. Now I also require GRASP. When will the Certification Body schedule the GRASP assessment?

In most cases the assessment timing depends on the demand. GRASP can be assessed throughout the year. However, ideally GRASP assessments are conducted on the same day(s) on which the GLOBALG.A.P. inspection/audit is scheduled (in order to support the “one-stop-shop concept”), which is during harvest when the employees´ representative(s) are most likely to be available.

Assessment procedure: Is a self-assessment required?

The self-assessment of the single producers (whether in option 1 or option 2) is not required. In Option 2 the internal assessment of every group member by an internal inspector is mandatory – this internal assessment is per definition different from a self-assessment.

Assessment procedure: I am registered as an Option 1 producer but in fact have a multisite operation with QMS. Shall I use the GRASP checklist for Option 1 single producers or for Option 2 producer groups?

In this case Option 2 checklist shall be used. For the assessment this means that the square root of the different sites is checked – in the checklist the sites are recorded as “members” plus the QMS.

Assessment procedure: How to include the GRASP results of the option 1 handling units?

The GRASP General Rules require for the assessment of packhouses/handling facilities a separate option 1 CL that shall be completed by the CB. This CL cannot be uploaded currently, the results in that CL have to be merged into the option 2 CL.

Assessment procedure: What is the procedure, if from multiple products only few are included in the GRASP assessment?

If a producer cultivates different products, but only 1 or 2 products are included in the IFA certificate, GRASP can be assessed only related to those products. It is likely that a certain quantity of the workers in the IFA production is the same as the workers in the non-IFA production, the documents and records of those employees are checked then

Assessment procedure: Do the GRASP assessors check the documents and records of all employees?

It is not possible to do so: Groups can employ hundreds of workers. It is acceptable to check a sample, the square root number of employees and their contracts, time records etc. considering the different types of employment.

Assessment procedure: We are a producer group with own production covered by the GLOBALG.A.P. certificate. Can we include in GRASP only the employees who work on the sites owned by the group?
  • If the producer group cultivates the same product(s) on its own sites as the producer group’s members: GRASP assessments are always linked to a production process and as the producer groups´ own production can currently not be registered in the database, the GRASP assessment cannot be displayed. You can ask the GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat for a confirmation of the Proof of Assessment and that those data cannot be displayed in the GLOBALG.A.P. Database.
  • If the producer group cultivates different product(s) on its own sites, the producer group can be GRASP assessed as Option 1, all employees can be included and the GRASP assessment will be displayed. In such cases in version 1.3 the Option 1 checklist can be used.
Assessment procedure: Do all the group members have to be included in the GRASP assessment?

In the GRASP version 1.3 it is not a requirement anymore to include all the IFA group members in GRASP within 3 years. Basically a big group can be GRASP assessed with just few members – provided the buyers communicate differet requirements.

Assessment procedure: I/we have product handling units (pack houses: PHUs) that are also included in the GLOBALG.A.P. certificate. Can only the PHUs be included in the GRASP assessment?

It is not possible to exclude the production process on GRASP level as GRASP is based on the GLOBALG.A.P. primary production certificate where the production process is always certified.

Assessment procedure: How to handle subcontracted packhouses?

According to point 3.4 of the GRASP General Rules v1.3  every task that is covered by the GLOBALG.A.P. IFA certification has to be included in the GRASP assessment of the participating members and producers. This way, if produce handling is included in the IFA certification, also the handling units have to be assessed against the GRASP compliance, also in case of subcontracted handling. Proving compliance of subcontracted parties can either be checked via visiting the sites or units and offices of the subcontractors or requiring an agreement or contract signed by producer and subcontractor that clearly shows that

- the subcontractors know the GRASP requirements (e.g. the producer has informed or trained them)

- the subcontractor complies with the GRASP requirements

- in case of doubt the Certification Body of the producer is allowed to visit the subcontractors sites/office to sample any GRASP relevant documents or conduct interviews.

Finally the producer is responsible for the compliance of the subcontractors.

Assessment procedure: How does the Certification Body proceed if the number of producer group members and/or sites increases?

If new producer group members apply for GRASP during the 12 months of the assessment validity, the following principle applies: If the new members under GRASP are >10% of the members that are already in GRASP and/or there is at least one new employee employed by a GRASP producer, a GRASP assessment of those newly added producers or sites shall be conducted, and in Option 2 producer group assessments an audit of the QMS is required.

Assessment procedure: Can we split the GRASP assessment and first start assessing the QMS and/or the employees´ product handling units, and finally the employees of the group members? Is there a maximum time frame for completing the GRASP assessment?

Additional costs for the growers that a split assessment would result in shall be avoided. It has to be considered that the employees do not have to be on the site while assessing GRASP, but the employees´ representative(s), the responsible person for GRASP and the management. If the assessment is still to be split up, the GRASP assessment shall be finalized at the latest when the GLOBALG.A.P. certificate is renewed.

Assessment procedure: How shall an Option 1 multisite producer be assessed and the assessment report be prepared?

GRASP shall be implemented on every site including the (central) product handling unit. Every site has to be GRASP assessed. The employees´ representative(s) of all sites have to be interviewed. For the GRASP report one checklist should be used per site, the inspection notes shall be site specific and the final report shall combine the results and inspection notes (not a summary). For option 1 multisite operations with QMS the option 2 checklist can be used.

Assessment procedure: How shall the results of the option 2 group assessment be captured?

The option 2 assessment can be carried out by the GRASP assessor either with the option 2 checklist or using the option 1 checklist for every participating member – the hard copy of the pdf-checklist, the Excel assessment checklist or the Excel checklist for the groups´ internal assessment. It is the decision of the Certification Body (what is feasible and practical), the only important point is that the checklist for the upload is the option 2 Excel checklist and every other documentation has to show clearly how the GRASP assessor got to the final upload results.

Assessment costs: Howe much does the GRASP assessment cost?
  • Fees are invoiced by two parties:

1. The Certification Body that assesses GRASP charges its own costs for the assessment hours/days and the costs of the assessor. Please request the respective information from the assessing Certification Body.

2. GLOBALG.A.P. charges GRASP assessment license fees that apply to producers (individuals or group members) and to producer groups as detailed in the table below:

Fee Type

Applies to

Annual Fee

Option 1 GRASP Assessment License Fee

Each individual producer assessed for GRASP

 

25 €

Option 2 GRASP Assessment License Fee (Base Level)

Each GRASP assessment of a producer group

 

130 €

Option 2 GRASP Assessment License Fee (Producer Supplement)

Each individual producer group member who is

included in the producer group assessment

1 €

National Interpretation Guidelines: Why do we need National Interpretation Guidelines?

Labor legislation differs from country to country. The GRASP National Interpretation Guidelines specify relevant legal requirements – such as national minimum wages, regulations on working hours, the minimum age of employment, etc.

National Interpretation Guidelines: There is no National Interpretation Guideline in my county. How can I be GRASP assessed?

In these cases the Certification Body can apply for an exception if several requirements as set out in the GRASP General Rules V1.3 have been fulfilled, so it can begin with the GRASP assessment even without a National Interpretation Guideline.

Access to the GRASP assessment results: I am GRASP assessed, how can my supplier/retailer see the GRASP assessment in the GLOBALG.A.P. Database?

GRASP assessment results are not visible in the public search. Only companies whose employees have GLOBALG.A.P. Database access (bookmarking package) and signed the GRASP Terms of Reference for ensuring data privacy can validate the results. These companies and their users are the GRASP Observers.

Control Point 1 Employees´ representative(s): Does the company have to have an employees´ representative?

Yes, if the company employs more than 5 employees, there has to be an employees´ representative. Inform your employees about their right to have a representative or an employees’ council. The number of employees’ representative(s) shall reflect the number of employees (e.g. one representative per 50 employees) and be representative (e.g. also representing non-national employees if employed at the company).

Control Point 1 Employees´ representative(s): Can this control point also be non-applicable?

Yes, if only core family members are working for the company. Core family members are related in direct line to the producer (this does not apply for employed company managers) and live in the same household as the producer. It may include parents, spouses, brothers/sisters and children, but does not include uncles/ aunts, cousins or other relatives.

Control Point 1 Employees´ representative(s): Can the employees´ representative be part of the management, e.g. in small companies?

No, the employees´ representative(s) facilitate the dialogue between the employees and the management, so problems can be easily addressed. A person who is part of the management cannot take on this role. However, the person responsible for the implementation of GRASP (the responsible employee for the workers´ health and safety) can become the employees´ representative(s). They shall follow up on the agreements made between the employees’ representative(s) and the management and regularly check upon the status of their implementation.

Control Point 1 Employees´ representative(s): Can the employees´ representative also be nominated, not elected?

Yes, for example if there is a high rotation of employed workforce or if there is any exceptional situation that justifies the nomination as the only practicable solution. Make sure all employees know who the representative is, document the process and the justification.

Control Point 1 Employees´ representative(s): What are the tasks of an employees´ representative?

The employees’ representative(s) shall be person(s) accessible to all employees and able to address the management in a constructive way. In order to be able to understand/transmit to the employees their legal rights, employees’ representative(s) shall be able to read the respective National Interpretation Guidelines. Any conflict of interest for the employees’ representative(s) shall be avoided as far as possible. Some National Interpretation Guidelines specify protection measures for the employees’ representative(s) so as to freely execute their tasks. Make sure the employees’ representative(s) have enough time to execute their tasks. These tasks may be fixed in a short written task description.

Control Point 2 Complaint procedure: We are a very small company, have only few employees during the year. Do we have to implement a complaint procedure?

Yes, however having a complaint procedure does not mean that a complex procedure is a requirement. If employer and employees see each other regularly or have regular meetings anyway, it is enough to describe on one page how employees can complain and to whom, in which form.

Control Point 2 Complaint procedure: What could a complaint procedure look like?

Think of an appropriate complaint procedure that suits the size and situation of your company. In some cultures, people may hesitate to make a formal complaint in a document. The complaint procedure shall take this into account.

    • E.g. if you are managing a company that has only a few employees, the employees’ representative(s) might simply be available for talking with the employees at certain times of the week. Let employees know at what time and whom to talk to.
    • If you are managing a company that has numerous employees, hang up a complaint box where employees can file their complaints anonymously. Make sure that you empty the box regularly (e.g. every 2 weeks) and deal with the complaints in order to solve them, or organize a consulting time where complaints can be posted (e.g. to the person responsible for employees´ health, safety and welfare and/or to the employees’ representative(s)) and discussed.
    • If certified as a producer group (Option 2) the complaint procedure may be managed through the group’s central quality management system.
Control Point 2 Complaint procedure: Do we need to document everything?

Generally yes, if it ensures transparency of decisions to your employees. Make sure to let all employees (also non-permanent employees) know how, where and when they can complain. It is crucial to make transparent in which time frame you deal with complaints, e.g. during the next 2 weeks. Follow-ups and feedback on improvements shall be made in order to assure that your employees feel that their complaints or suggestions have been taken seriously and the situation has improved.

Control Point 3 Self-declaration on good social practices: The labor regulations in the country are very strict and the compliance with them tightly controlled. Do we still need to create this declaration and have it signed?

Yes, this control point is also a requirement, the document has to be set up and signed by the company manager and the employees´ representative. Every employee has to know about this self-declaration and know what it is about.

Control Point 3 Self-declaration on good social practices: What is this self-declaration about?

The self-declaration is a means to ensure the management is committed to follow the principles of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) core labor conventions and to implement transparent and non- discriminative hiring procedures of employees.

The self-declaration must include at least the below listed principles of good social practices and human rights of workers, covering the following ILO conventions. Find easy wording to make the following principles understandable to employees (see example):

    • No. 111 on discrimination
    • No. 138 and 182 on minimum age and child labor
    • No. 29 and 105 on forced labor
    • No. 87 on freedom of association
    • No. 98 on the right to organize and collective bargaining
    • No. 100 on equal remuneration
    • No. 99 on minimum wage

In the self-declaration, the employer (the management) assures that any sign of violation of these principles is immediately treated by the management system and reported to the certification body.

Control Point 3 Self-declaration on good social practices: How do we draft the self-declaration?
  • When setting up the document, check if the self-declaration is complete and covers at least all required conventions.
  • Check if additional points may be relevant at your company and revise and adapt the declaration accordingly.
  • Explain to your employees what the self-declaration is about and clarify terms they may not be familiar with. Discuss the points of the self-declaration with them, and check if everyone at the company has the same view on compliance with them.
  • Sign the self-declaration and also ask the employees’ representative(s) to sign it.
  • Make sure that all employees know about the self-declaration, either by attaching a copy to each working contract, by visibly displaying it on the site or by organizing information meetings.
  • Regularly check whether your self-declaration needs to be updated. It shall be revised at least every 3 years, if new legal regulations are published or a new collective bargaining agreement comes into place.
Control Point 4 Access to national labor regulations: Is it important to have national labor regulations in every case / on every site?

No: It is not always possible to have all actual documents on site. The responsible persons shall at least have access to the national regulations. An alternative is to have (a copy of) the GRASP National Interpretation Guidelines with annex or references to the national labor regulations available. However, whenever changes occur, employees and their representative(s) have to be informed. There shall be a mechanism that assures this.

Control Point 5 Working contracts: There are no written working contracts in the country, only a central registration. How can companies comply with this requirement?

National Interpretation Guidelines can provide support on how to comply with this point and how to assess it. In several cases the guidelines explain the situation in the country and justify the exceptions. The guidelines or comments in the assessment checklist shall list the information, the details that are registered and specify the database, the weblink.

Control Point 5 Working contracts: The contract has been signed only by one party (employer or employee). Does that make the control point compliant?

No, the contract has to be signed (or thumb printed) by both parties – employer and employee.

Control Point 5 Working contracts: We employ only seasonal workers and do not provide sophisticated single working contracts. How can we comply with this control point?

The working contract does not need to be a complex document, it needs to contain the minimum data as defined in the compliance criteria. This can be put in a table for all employees.

The minimum data are:

    • Employee’s full name and nationality
    • Date of birth
    • Contract period
    • Date of entry
    • Job description
    • Working hours & work breaks
    • Wages
    • For non-nationals: Legal status and working permit
Control Point 6 Pay slips & Control Point 7 Wages: Every documented evidence of payment is controlled by national authorities. Do we still need to provide the documents required in these control points?

Yes. National Interpretation Guidelines can provide implementation guidelines or alternatives for this requirement.

Control Point 6 Pay slips & Control Point 7 Wages: How can I implement a recording system in order to be able to comply with the GRASP requirements?
  • Make sure you keep a regular record (payslip / pay register) on the payments made to all employees. When writing a payslip/pay register, compile all information about wage, regular hours, overtime and salaries paid.
  • Let the employees sign or thumb print the pay register once they receive the money and also sign it yourself. Alternatively, regularly give out payslips to the employees.
  • Keep the pay register / copies of the payslips for at least 24 months.
  • In companies with few employees you may set up a document in which all employees and respective monthly payments are listed and signed.
  • Make sure you pay at least the minimum wage to your employees. If there are deductions from the salary for employees who are thus getting paid below minimum wage, these deductions must be justified.
  • If you calculate payment per unit, make sure employees are able to gain at least the legal minimum wage within regular working hours.
Control Point 8 Non-employment of minors & Control Point 9 Access to compulsory school education: The legislation in my country does not cover the minimum age of employment. Can I employ people at any age?

No: The GRASP requirement defines that if a national minimum age is not defined, children below the age of 15 shall not be employed. Children and young people shall by no means be encouraged to leave school when they are still of compulsory schooling age.

Control Point 8 Non-employment of minors & Control Point 9 Access to compulsory school education: How can I/the producer ensure that employees prove their age?

Ask them for their ID or any other form of identification (e.g. birth certificate, driver’s license) before signing a working contract.

Control Point 8 Non-employment of minors & Control Point 9 Access to compulsory school education: What do I/the producer do if children (of employees) live on the site?
  • It is the employer’s duty to ensure that all employees’ children living on the production/handling site have access to compulsory school education. Make sure you know how many children are living on the production/handling site, and whether they are of compulsory schooling age.
  • If the school is further away than 30 minutes walking distance, organize transport to the nearby schools (e.g. bus, bike, donkey, etc.). In other cases it might be easier to provide adequate schooling on the production/handling site than to organizing regular transport. You could employ a teacher and set up an on-site school, according to national legislation.
Control Point 10 Time recording system & Control Point 11 Working hours and breaks: We are a small company – do we need to implement an electronic recording system?

No: Find out which kind of time recording system suits your company depending on the number of employees. You can still comply with the requirements if you have implemented record sheets on a daily basis. Make the employees regularly sign the record sheets, e.g. at the end of the month. Such time record sheets can easily be combined with the required pay slips and other required information.

Check clocks and electronic gate cards are alternatives that are mainly suitable for companies with more employees. The time recording system is a management instrument for ensuring transparency about working hours and overtime.

Control Point 10 Time recording system & Control Point 11 Working hours and breaks: Do we also need to document overtime, even if it is not included in the national legislation of our country?

Yes, this is a GRASP requirement that must be complied with. National Interpretation Guidelines can explain specific approaches.

Control Point 10 Time recording system & Control Point 11 Working hours and breaks: Our employees take breaks. Is it relevant when and how long they take them?
  • Yes: An employee has the right to take a break after a regulated period of time. Legal regulations and/or collective bargaining agreements define the breaks. The length of working hours and breaks shall comply with the legal regulations.
  • National Interpretation Guidelines can explain specific rules.
  • Make sure that your employees do not exceed a regular working time of 48 hours and that the weekly working time during peak seasons does not exceed 60 hours.
QMS control point: Our QMS has already been checked during the GLOBALG.A.P. assessment. What is this control point about?

This control point assures that the GRASP requirements are included in the Quality Management System of a GLOBALG.A.P.-certified producer group. In general, GRASP follows the regulations of the GLOBALG.A.P. Option 2 certification. For specific rules please check the GRASP General Rules or contact the GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat.

Recommendations – Additional social benefits: Is it a mandatory requirement to provide social benefits?

No, providing incentives to employees, their families and/or the community is voluntary. This does not influence the result of the GRASP assessment.

Recommendations – Additional social benefits: What are these social benefits?

A lot of companies additionally provide social benefits which are not covered in the prior control points. If a company provides such additional forms of social benefits, their efforts shall be acknowledged and included in the GRASP records. The control point R1 lists a few examples.