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Working Conditions

Wages & Benefits

Gildan has developed and implemented a competitive compensation structure which is crucial in attracting, motivating and retaining the best talent in each of the countries where we operate.

Gildan is proud of its record of creating well-paying jobs with attractive benefits at all of our manufacturing locations. Some of the benefits provided to our employees include: access to free medical assistance, access to financial aid programs, and subsidized meals. We also provide subsidized transportation to and from work at the majority of our locations.

We empower workers by providing them with the opportunity to upgrade their skill sets and education level through company offered training programs. Most of our production employees earn more than the legally-mandated minimum industry wages in all the countries where we operate. This has had a direct and positive impact on the quality of life of our workers and their families.

Gildan also offers additional incentives to employees who exceed certain objectives. These incentives, which represent compensation over their basic wage, reward workers whose production efficiency is above average, similar to the model used in many North American companies.

Fair Wages

Since 2012, Gildan has been conducting small pilot projects in Honduras and the Dominican Republic to gain a better understanding of fair wages. Our studies include an analysis of salaries and paid in-kind benefits that we provide employees. In addition, we have been analyzing trends related to inflation in regards to food and housing as well as other studies developed by local authorities and civil society organizations. 

Since food is one of the major components included as a basic need, Gildan has already started to take actions in order to help our employees have access to groceries and basic household products at reduced prices. To this effect, in Nicaragua, we have arranged for an establishment situated in close proximity to our facilities to provide employees with foodstuffs and other staples at discounted prices compared to market. To bring this project to bear, we collaborated with one of our facility’s unions who continues to play an active role in the administration of this program. 

The Fair Labor Association (“FLA”) developed a tool to standardize the measurement of living wages at factories.  Due to adjustments to the FLA tool, the company was unable to fully test it in all of our facilities in 2016. However, following the publication of the FLA’s first report on wages; which identified Bangladesh as one of the countries operating with wages below the poverty line as established by the World Bank, we found that benefits offered at our vertically integrated facility in Bangladesh were superior to the benchmark reported in the study.  

As this is an important element to the overall working conditions we offer our employees, Gildan will continue to focus its efforts on ensuring the salaries and total benefits offered to its employees are sufficient to meet basic needs as reflected by the provision on compensation and benefits included in our Code of Conduct.

Minimum Wages in Latin America

Minimum wages in Latin America typically vary according to the work category. The legally-mandated minimum wage in most Latin American countries will also vary, depending on the industry sector. The various industry sectors include agriculture, services, industrial, banking and manufacturing.

Most countries have a minimum wage that applies to the manufacturing industry. Wages in the manufacturing or industrial sectors can be used to compare salaries in the textile industry as they relate to similar activities.

Wages in Haiti

Unlike most Gildan operations, which are vertically integrated and managed directly by the Company, sewing operations in Haiti are subcontracted by Gildan to third parties. Each contractor is responsible for implementing all of the requirements necessary to comply with our Code of Conduct. Gildan team members regularly monitor each contractor and verify the implementation of social compliance and quality standards. Gildan has recently increased its resources in Haiti which are responsible for ensuring that Gildan contractors are compliant with all local laws and Gildan’s Code of Conduct.

Stakeholder engagement and controversy surrounding minimum wage

A study published by the Workers’ Rights Consortium (WRC) in 2013 regarding the minimum daily wage for employees who earn per piece produced in the garment sector generated much discussion among various sectors including workers, government and the private sector. As a result of these concerns, in November 2013, Gildan required its contractors in Haiti to meet the payment of 300 gourdes per day (production wage at the time) for employees working per piece produced and always based on the expectation of reasonable efficiency in an eight hour work day. This was subsequently updated to reflect the revised country production wages in effect as discussed further below. Each contractor was asked to make changes in its payment structure to fulfill the commitment put forward by Gildan. 

During 2014, Gildan facilitated several meetings between a leader of a major garment industry union and our contractors in Haiti to review and agree to the payment structure for employees who work per piece.  For example, in October 2014, one of the main unions in the garment industry, Tekstil Sendika Ouvriye ak Abiman (SOTA-BO) signed an agreement with one of our contractors in which both sides agreed to the wage structure respecting the payment of 300 gourdes.

In 2016, Gildan continued its engagement with WRC by obtaining authorization from its contractors to allow for the WRC to monitor and verify payments. Contractors also agreed to provide a salary adjustment to eligible workers who were below the applicable production wage during a period agreed upon by all parties involved in the process. At the time of this publication, the WRC and Gildan are still in the process of validating the information provided by the contractors.

Changes in the past two years

In May 2015, the Ministry of Labor approved a new salary increase which raised the salary paid to employees who earn per piece produced in 8 hours of work, to 320 gourdes. Our contractors confirmed that the respective adjustments were made to reflect this change. Additionally, in September 2015, SOTA-BO signed an agreement with a second contractor in Haiti whereby pay tables and overtime payment management, among other things, were agreed to between the parties, all in line with local laws.

The production wage for production workers in 2016 increased to 350 gourdes per day, which represents an increase of 9.4%.

In collaboration with our independent audit team, we continue monitoring the implementation of these agreements and the changes to wages under Haitian law. We still have challenges regarding efficiency levels that must be achieved and the percentage of workers expected to achieve the payment of 350 gourdes per day. The situation is affected by absenteeism caused in part by the political tension of the elections in late 2015 and 2016. Gildan has sourced sewing production from Haiti for over 15 years and will continue to do so in the future.

Minimum Wages in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, there is a specific minimum wage structure for the garment sector where workers are graded according to their position. Gildan’s employees in Bangladesh earn significantly more than the country legal minimum wage. We also provide additional benefits such as meals and medical assistance.

  • Rewarding Employee Dedication and Performance

    Performance Appraisals

    Gildan has a well-established performance appraisal process. For all indirect employees and managers, Gildan’s performance management process is carried out on an ongoing basis that starts with a discussion of expectations and objectives at the beginning of the fiscal year. In addition, a mid-year review is encouraged and an overall assessment of the employees’ objectives and competencies fulfillment is done at the end of the year.

    The performance management process for direct employees (e.g. operators in the production facilities), is based on the competencies required by their position. Individual and team performance is also assessed against pre-set objectives in factors ranging from production efficiency to quality and safety.

    This process brings important benefits to both the employee and the organization. Some examples of the benefits achieved include, increased individual and organizational performance resulting in greater productivity, better alignment of priorities and objectives, clarification of performance expectations, increased employee engagement, improved training needs identification and better decision-making in regard to all human resources processes (e.g. succession planning, promotions, salary increases and variable compensation payments).

    Gildan’s compensation philosophy

    Gildan’s compensation philosophy is designed to attract, motivate and retain employees by encouraging and rewarding their performance. The compensation program is intended to help align employees’ interests with those of the Corporation’s shareholders. In addition to base salary, Gildan’s other compensation components include:

    Short‐term incentive plan

    All employees in management positions and a proportion of indirect employees, including some clerical, technical and professional employees are eligible for a short term incentive plan. The plan provides annual bonuses, directly related to the achievement of key financial objectives relative to budget. The plan also recognizes individual and team efforts towards the achievement of superior results. The bonuses are directly linked to the objectives achieved in the performance management process.

    The short-term incentive plan aims to enhance the link between pay and performance by:

    • Aligning the financial interests of employees with the annual financial performance of the Company;
    • Motivating employees to work towards common annual performance objectives; and
    • Providing greater total cash compensation where superior individual and organizational results are met or exceeded.

    Long-Term Incentive Plan

    The Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP) allows the Board of Directors to grant Stock Options, Treasury Restricted Share Units (RSUs) and Non-Treasury RSUs, to officers, management and key employees of Gildan and its subsidiaries. The primary objective of the LTIP is to encourage individuals to work towards the long-term growth and development of the Company.

    In addition, the LTIP supports Gildan in attracting, retaining and motivating its officers and key employees. The LTIP is administered by the Board of Directors, which has delegated the LTIP responsibilities to the Compensation and Human Resources Committee. More specifically, the LTIP is designed to:

    • Recognize and reward the impact of longer‐term strategic actions undertaken by the management team and key employees;
    • Align the interests of the management team, key employees and shareholders;
    • Help employees focus on developing and successfully implementing a continual growth strategy for Gildan; and
    • Foster employee retention.

    Please refer to the Management Proxy Circular (pdf - 3.4Mb) for more information about Gildan’s Long Term Incentive Plan.

    Employee Share Purchase Plan

    In order to promote employee commitment towards Gildan, an Employee Share Purchase Plan (ESPP) is offered to all employees in North America and to salaried employees in the majority of our other locations. At our manufacturing locations, the ESPP applies to manager level position and higher in Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. The ESPP encourages employees to become shareholders of Gildan. It allows them to buy shares of Gildan through payroll deductions at a discounted price. Employee participation is voluntary.