Salary Matrix tool: Support for Rainforest Alliance certified farms in LATAM complete wage data

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Rainforest Alliance

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Tuluá, Colombia

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26 days ago

Terms of Reference

Salary Matrix tool: Support for Rainforest Alliance certified farms in LATAM to complete wage data in accordance with program requirements

Rainforest Alliance is seeking a consultant to submit proposals to conduct implementation support with 5 banana farms in Latin America to accurately fill in data for workers’ wages

Summary Information

  • Department: Themes/Markets Transformation
  • Location(s) of farms: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica
  • Commitment: 20 days
  • Desired start date: 21st. November 2022

Consultancy Summary

About the Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities.

We work towards making responsible business the new normal through our certification program, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work and advocacy.


Living wage is a concept of enormous significance aligning multiple stakeholders around the goal of achieving decent standard of living of workers around the world. Minimum wages are often not enough for workers to afford the basic necessities of life such as decent housing, nutritious diet, education, health care, clothes. Living wage benchmarks exist calculated by the Global Living Wage Coalition, following a credible, authoritative objective methodology called the Anker methodology, which provides numerical value to a decent standard of living. These benchmarks are applied by standard-setting organizations, companies, and different NGOs to understand the gap to a living wage. which provides numerical value to a decent standard of living. These benchmarks are applied by standard-setting organizations, companies, and different NGOs to understand the gap to a living wage.

Many employers in agriculture in LatAm use the living wage benchmarks to evaluate whether the payment provided allows their workers a decent standard of living using a standardized tool – the Salary Matrix Tool (SMT). The farms undergo training on the tool, fill in the tool, and are subsequently audited by third-party independent auditors as part of their participation in certification programs. Additional support is needed to the farms in the pre-audit (verification) phase to make sure they understand the principles of the tool, enter wage data completely and correctly in the tool and minimize any inconsistencies.

The data from the SMTs would be used as input for the development of projects and sector-wide initiatives to support the improvement of workers’ livelihood across the banana sector in selected countries in LatAm.

Main Objectives

The goal for this consultancy assignment is to ensure the data filled in the SMT for the 5 farms in scope is as complete, credible and accurate as possible.

The five farms in scope participate in a project with Rainforest Alliance and partner organizations. They have already been trained, filled out the SMTs, undergone remote data checks to detect any inconsistencies through telephone interviews with a wage specialist, and had an audit under the Rainforest Alliance certification. The SMTs of the participating farms still show signs of inconsistencies in the way data is entered in the tool. The main concern is that overtime hours have been entered into the SMT, which contradicts the Tool Guidance and leads to underestimation of the gap to a living wage on farms. The expectation for this assignment is the consultant would help detect and remedy any inaccuracies and identify the root causes of persisting inconsistencies.

While the consultancy is related to a specific project, upon successful completion of this assignment, the consultant could be hired for a long-term assignment with Rainforest Alliance as part of a training and capacity-building program to support producers in the banana sector implement the living wage requirements of the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard 2020.

The expectation is to conduct this work with a maximum of 5 farms across 3 countries:

  • 2 in Costa Rica
  • 2 in Colombia
  • 1 in Belize

The time investment for the consultancy is estimated at 15-20 days, based on the following breakdown:

  • 1-day familiarization with Anker methodology and the concept of living wage; review of the report from remote data checks for the 5 farms
  • 3-4 days of online training on the SMT with QA session
  • 1-2 days collection and review of SMTs in preparation for field activities; schedule field activities with farms
  • 5 days of field activities -1 day per farm
  • 3 days travel
  • 1-2 days reporting

Contractor Services at a minimum, must include:

Key Responsibilities and Activities

  • Acquire excellent operational knowledge of the SMT. The SMT is a practical tool based on the Anker methodology to help evaluate how the total remuneration received by employees (including wages, bonuses, cash and in-kind benefits) compares to the relevant living wage benchmarks for a region.
  • Acquire relevant understanding of the principles of the Anker methodology and the concept of living wage.
  • Communicate with farm management to collect and check remotely the SMTs of farms in Latin America to ascertain whether the tool is filled in and mark any red flags for the in-field inspection.
  • Conduct field support work of up to one-day duration per farm to:
  • Assist farm management with any outstanding questions related to the principles behind the Salary Matrix, and how to correctly use it within their specific context to enter wage data and measure the gap according to the Official Tool Guidance.
  • Conduct an interview with farm management and Human Resources to understand how labor is organized, how average wages have been calculated, how data was used/entered into the tool with a focus on overtime, piece-rate payment, tracking of hours, how users separate overtime pay from standard pay in a defined production period; and how country and/or sector context payments such as 13 and 14th month salary, bonus, profit-sharing, etc. have been reflected in the SMT.
  • Conduct salary matrix data reconciliation comparing the data entered in the SMT with the internal wage records and working hours on farm and provide guidance to the farm on how to adequately address inconsistencies to comply with Tool Guidance.
  • QA with farm managers and workers/ workers’ reps as required to clarify entries in the SMT.


Short report that outlines in summary:

  • Per farm: the type of inaccuracies and mistakes detected through interviews and SMT data reconciliation, and type of corrections implemented
  • Per farm: root causes of inconsistencies (tool functionalities, training and capacity shortcomings, sector /country and/farm specific wage system issues, etc)
  • Per farm: final results of the living wage gap analysis per farm (Output of the SMT). Include the indicator data as per the RA standard 5.4.1 requirement: 'filled in indicator template, including the LW gap per farm’.
  • Recommendations about how the process of data reconciliation (comparing the data entered in the SMT with the internal wage records and working hours on farm) can be optimized based on the consultant’s experience with the assignment

General terms and conditions for Request for proposal

  • Proposals and/or any additional information received after the submission time and date are subject to rejection by The Rainforest Alliance. Incomplete proposals may be rejected by RA at its discretion.
  • The Rainforest Alliance reserves the right to request additional information at any time during the procurement process.
  • RA is at liberty to make multiple or no selections as part of the proposal process. RA also reserves the right to cancel the procurement.
  • All proposal costs shall be borne by the applicant and will not be reimbursed by RA.

Selection Criteria

  • Ability to learn about a new tool and effectively analyze and interpret data entered in the tool. Preference would be given to applicants who have existing knowledge of the salary matrix tool and the Anker methodology
  • Previous accounting or payroll specialist background preferred
  • Basic knowledge of labor law in LatAm essential
  • Experience in agriculture (especially the banana sector) a strong asset
  • Good level of Spanish and English language skills (verbal and written)
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to handle confidential data
  • Very good at reading, comparing and interpreting data
  • Ability to communicate financial data in a clear and accessible way
  • Knowledge of payroll and HR software systems considered an advantage
  • Availability to conduct this assignment before the end of 2022

Proposal Process and Format

  • Interested consultants must submit their proposals through this platform by November 10th. 2022 extended to November 25th. 2022.
  • Guidance on what proposals should contain.
  • Project team (if a Consultant Firm)
  • Work plan/technical proposal/methodology/timeline for deliverables
  • Financial proposal:
  • cost-reimbursable: daily rate (USD) and estimated number of days needed to complete project
  • budget needed to complete deliverables.
  • financial proposals must include a basis for costing (ex: "Include previous rates")
  • List of previous engagements that addresses the above experience desired
  • Current C.V.(S)
  • Contact details of recent references (2 references with email and phone number)