Our employees, our responsibility.

At the start of 2020, our world was hit with unprecedented circumstances. With the spread of COVID-19, which triggered mandatory governmental shutdowns of the private sector and a global impact on the economy, many factories around the world, including ours, stopped production and temporarily closed their doors.

Since then, we have collaborated with the national authorities of the regions where we operate to safely re-open our facilities and resume production. Our unique business model of owning the facilities that produce the vast majority of our products allows us to work closely with our local teams, and in collaboration with local governments, NGOs and union representatives, where applicable, to ensure employees’ rights are respected and that our employees receive constant support during this crisis.

While our factories were idle, most of our workers were placed under suspension, a mechanism allowed by law where workers are suspended from work without losing their contract while maintaining their seniority and all legal benefits to which they are entitled to. During this time, workers were also receiving financial support from Gildan and their respective governments. In some countries where government support was not available, Gildan stepped in to support employees financially.

As during normal operations, Gildan follows each country's Social Security guidelines regarding paid sick leave. We are also following the FLA guidelines and country specific provisions regarding paid sick leave, which you can find out more about here: https://www.fairlabor.org/blog/entry/country-specific-updates-provisions-workers-response-covid-19-pandemic

"Caring for our people has always been a top priority at Gildan, even more so during this time of uncertainty. I want to assure you that Gildan remains fully committed to this goal as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teams are working hard to ensure the welfare of our people and the continuity of our business.”

Claudia Sandoval
VP, Corporate Citizenship

Status breakdown by country of operation

Below is a summary on the support we provided to employees in each country where we have operations:

Country

Summary of support provided

 

United States

Following the shut-down of our manufacturing and distribution operations in the U.S. on March 23rd, 2020, our yarn manufacturing employees and many of the employees at our distribution centers were temporarily laid off from their positions. During the temporary layoff, each employee retained their seniority at the Company as well as their benefits with no contributions needed from the employees.

Our employees were also been eligible to receive unemployment benefits in the states in which we operate, namely North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. In addition, the United States government provided weekly financial aid through the end of July 2020 per the CARES Act to employees who have been laid-off due to COVID-19.

 

Honduras

On March 16th, 2020 we temporarily suspended production at our manufacturing factories in Honduras. During the suspension, the Company used different financial solutions, which had been discussed with union representatives where applicable, including the direct payment of minimum wages, and the payment of accrued vacation days and holidays to our employees. The Company also joined an Economic Aid Package launched by the Honduran government for employee’s subject to employment contract suspensions. This aid provided families with economic relief subsidy, which was contributed partially by the state and Gildan.

During such temporary suspensions, employees' contracts remained active and each employee retained their seniority at the Company. Employees also continue to have full access to their health benefits through the country’s Social Security.

Nicaragua

On March 23rd, 2020, we temporarily suspended production at our factories in Nicaragua. During the temporary suspension, employees' contracts remained active, and each employee retained their seniority at the Company. Employees also continued to have full access to their health benefits through the country’s Social Security. The suspension terms, as well as wages paid during this period, were agreed with union representatives at the facilities and approved by the Ministry of Labor in Nicaragua.

A number of financial measures have been used to support employees during the temporary suspension, including the payment of accrued vacation days and a humanitarian aid subsidy to all employees, paid for by Gildan which represents 50% of the country’s minimum wage for direct and indirect hourly employees.

Dominican Republic

On March 19th, 2020, we temporarily suspended production at our manufacturing factories in the Dominican Republic. During the temporary suspension, employees' contracts remained active, and each employee retained their seniority at the Company. Employees also continued to have full access to their health benefits through the country’s Social Security.

For the first two weeks of the suspension, employees were paid based on accrued vacations. During the months of April, May, and June, Gildan was able to join a government program called FASE, which provides workers with 70% of the minimum wages. Gildan provided the remaining 30%. The 30% Gildan provided was not required under the program but rather a voluntary contribution that the Company decided to make for the benefit of employees.

Bangladesh

On March 28th, 2020, we temporarily suspended production at our textile and sewing facility in Bangladesh. During the temporary suspension, employees' contracts remained active, and each employee retained their seniority at the Company.

Since the beginning of the shutdown in Bangladesh, we have been paying all manufacturing employees 50% of their salary in addition to their allowances. This represents approximately 70% of the countries' minimum wage.

In addition, workers have also received payments applicable to the Eid Festival, as was required by law, as well as their accrued vacation days or earned leave encashment.

Governance and policy commitment

Gildan and its business partners will continue to comply to all of its codes and policies, including its Human Rights Policy, for the maintenance of an ethical and responsible workplace. And as always, Gildan will not retaliate or tolerate retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, reports a possible violation of any of the Company’s policies or the law.