Share this page

Social Compliance


GRI Content Index

Facilities producing for Gildan are audited to monitor working conditions against Gildan’s Code of Conduct and its related benchmarks, as outlined in our Sustainable Social and Environmental Compliance Guidebook.

All non-compliances are recorded and tracked in our interactive Corporate Social Responsibility data capture platform. As an integral part of a transparent and robust social compliance program, we report audit results to our Board of Directors on a quarterly basis.

The following information summarizes the non-compliances at Gildan’s owned and contractor facilities during the 2016 audit cycle.


    Gildan owned facilities

    A total of 205 labour-related non-compliances were found at Gildan owned facilities during the 2016 internal audit cycle. The severity levels of these non-compliances were classified as follows:

    • 3 Major non-compliances (1.5% of findings)
    • 121 Moderate non-compliances (59% of findings)
    • 81 Minor non-compliances (39.5% of findings)

    This represents a decrease of 26.5% in the total number of non-compliances when compared to 2015.

    The three major non-compliances at our owned facilities in 2016 were revealed during the employee interview segments of two separate audits conducted at individual facilities in Honduras and Nicaragua. These findings pertained to our policies on workplace harassment and abuse as well as discrimination. Corrective actions to address and remediate these finding are in progress.

    The majority of the 2016 non-compliances (approximately 79%) related to health and safety. Our audit assessment questionnaire includes a rigorous health and safety component, since this area is heavily regulated. Moreover, the health and safety of our employees has been identified as a key social material issue and priority for our company and stakeholders.  Our benchmarks on health and safety represent nearly 57% of our questionnaire, which explains why most non-compliances are concentrated
    in this area. These non-compliances include:

    • Fire safety (blocked aisles, uncovered electrical panels, faulty emergency lights, exposed wiring, faded evacuation markings)
    • Inadequate use of PPE
    • Machine safety (missing or misuse of needle or eye guards) 
    • Chemical safety (eye wash stations, unlabelled containers)
    • General cleanliness and sanitary conditions (e.g. cafeteria, food handling certificates, general housekeeping)

    In all of the above-mentioned issues, employee, supervisor and management collaboration is essential to maintaining compliance with established policies and procedures. It is necessary to instill a sense of accountability at all levels of the organization and to raise awareness through engagement activities. We have designed training and internal communication campaigns suited to the needs of individual facilities, which aim to engage workers and encourage them to assist management by taking charge of their safety at work and by playing an active role in maintaining a healthy workplace.

    When a clear case of negligence is identified, supervisors are called on to take appropriate measures, in line with Gildan’s values, to demonstrate and apply our safety practices.  In every instance of non-compliance, a detailed remediation plan is developed – and supported by a root cause analyses where necessary.

  • Third party contractor facilities

    A total of 1,011 labour-related non-compliances were found at our third party contractor facilities during the 2016 audit cycle. The severity levels of these non-compliances were classified as follows:

    • 129 Major non-compliances (13%)
    • 487 Moderate non-compliances (48%)
    • 395 Minor non-compliances (39%)

    This represents a significant increase in the total number of non-compliances when compared to 2016. 

    This can be explained by the integration of several legacy contractor facilities following Gildan’s acquisitions of Doris Inc. in 2014 and of Peds Legwear in 2016. These new facility partners have expanded our contractor base by approximately 18%, heightening our auditing and remediation activities overall. Additionally, an intensive remediation strategy aimed at increasing compliance levels at existing third party contractor facilities necessitated the scheduling of repeat audits at our high and medium volume contractors in Asia.

    The major non-compliances observed at our third party contractor facilities in 2016 related to:

    • Legal information (insufficient payment of social insurance, fire safety certificates, business licenses)
    • Record-keeping (missing/incomplete labour contracts and personnel files, inadequate time keeping and payroll records) 
    • Discipline (punitive wage deductions)
    • Hours of work (egregious overtime, work on rest days)
    • Compensation and benefits (insufficient payment of overtime, delayed payments)
    • Child labour (non-registration of juvenile employees, inadequate verification, failure to comply with juvenile work restrictions)
    • Forced labour/freedom of movement (freedom of movement during work hours)
    • Health and safety (non-conforming emergency exits, incorrect fire inspections and/or certificates, presence of fire hazards)
    • Unauthorized subcontracting

    Over 62% of actively producing third party contractor facilities were audited at least once in 2016.

    Since the majority of our production is made at Gildan owned and operated facilities, our regional compliance teams possess a wealth of experience and in-depth expertise on effective labour compliance management systems, policies and procedures. We share this knowledge with our contractors’ management teams to educate them and assist them in developing sound labour practices to ensure sustainable remediation. In practice, our internal auditors regularly partner with contractors to implement corrective action plans. They also provide advice and recommendations on how best to address certain issues.

    For more details on our capacity building initiatives at our contractor facilities, please refer to our Contractors and Suppliers section.


    Gildan’s revised Code of Conduct now stipulates that employees must be at least 16 years of age or over the age for completion of compulsory education or the country legal working age, whichever is higher. It further states that employees under 18 are not employed in any form of hazardous conditions. This provision applies to our owned facilities as well as our contractors. Although in most countries it is legal to work at age 15 or 16, many restrictions apply to young workers under the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973. For example, young workers are not allowed to perform hazardous duties or to work at night (ILO Night Work of Young Person (Industry) Convention, 1919).

    When we acquired our integrated facility in Bangladesh in 2010, a country identified as having significant risk for child labour incidents as it has not ratified ILO Convention 138 on child labour, we conducted a complete screening of employees to confirm that they were all above the age of 18. The factory is continually monitored through our internal audits or audits conducted by third parties in order to mitigate the risk of child labour incidents.

    In 2016, all instances of non-compliance with our principles on child labour involved cases where juvenile employees were not adequately registered for work, facilities lacked appropriate age verification processes prior to hiring, and failure to comply with juvenile work restrictions

    The following represents Gildan’s commitment regarding juvenile employees:

    • ensure that juvenile employees meet the minimum lawful age to work in the country;
    • ensure that juvenile employees are not involved in tasks considered as hazardous, such as sewing, involvement with hazardous chemicals, lifting heavy loads, etc. Acceptable jobs include thread cutting, floor cleaning, label collecting, and packing.

    In addition, contractors must ensure that the restrictions for juvenile employees are respected in accordance with country laws. All juvenile employees must be registered with local authorities and they need to provide supporting documentation for verification.

    Gildan prohibits the use of forced or compulsory labour at its facilities. Nonetheless, an audit conducted at a contractor’s facility revealed one case that could be interpreted as forced labour since it involved a security guard restricting the amount of time some workers were spending for restroom breaks. The security guard’s actions could be perceived as restricting employees’ freedom of movement in the facility during work hours. To err on the side of caution, the auditor recorded this finding as a major non-compliance so that appropriate remediation could be adopted.

    As a principle of our Code of Conduct, Gildan and its business partners must recognize and respect the right of employees to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. As part of our monitoring process, the 2016 audit cycle revealed 15 minor and moderate instances of non-compliance among third party contractors.  In most cases, we noted that worker unions were not arranging regular meetings or that union representatives were not being elected on a timely basis.

    For more details regarding freedom of association at Gildan facilities, please consult our Unions section.