Wages: Meeting Employee Basic Needs and More

Wages: Meeting Employee Basic Needs and More

HanesBrands conducts business around the world in a highly ethical manner. We cherish our achievements and are committed to maintaining our strong reputation for corporate citizenship and social responsibility. We have been recognized as a leading performer on studying wage issues among the larger fashion retailers.

Our business model is based on a company-owned supply chain that links company competitiveness and employee economic upward mobility. Directly owning facilities allows us to invest in our employees and their communities as well as understand our employees’ living situation and what it takes for their households to meet basic needs.

We recognize that the commonly-used principle of a ‘living wage’ is a complex issue and difficult to measure. At Hanesbrands, we have commissioned independent research studies on wage levels. This research strongly indicates that families with at least one Hanesbrands employee are meeting their basic needs and more.

Further details on Hanesbrands’ supply chain and related independent research studies can be found below.

Hanesbrands’ supply chain and in-depth academic research studies on wage levels

HanesBrands owns the majority of its supply chain apparel production, unlike most of the world’s apparel industry. This business model thrives on the scale, stability and longevity of its operations, requiring a strong relationship between the company’s competitiveness and its employees’ economic interests. For example, HanesBrands has operated company-owned supply chain manufacturing in the Dominican Republic for more than 45 years, in El Salvador and Honduras for more than 25 years, in Vietnam for more than 10 years, and in Indonesia for more than 20 years. In addition, the company continues to manufacture in the United States and Europe.

Our employees enjoy jobs that play a central role in more than meeting the basic needs of their households, as well as the opportunity for upward economic mobility. We pride ourselves on being an innovative workplace leader across the globe that provides safe and rewarding jobs; competitive wages and benefits; ethical workplace standards, including the freedom of association; and unique opportunities for employees, including education advancement.

To better understand whether employees are living in households that at least meet their basic needs, HanesBrands commissioned in-depth academic research studies of its workforce in developing economies with two distinguished labor economists. These studies were conducted at four manufacturing facilities in Central America, the Caribbean and Vietnam where apparel is sewn into finished products, one of the company’s most labor-intensive operations. These four company-owned facilities employ approximately 12,000 employees of the company’s total global supply chain workforce of approximately 55,000 in company-owned facilities.

The research was conducted by Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi, professor of economics at Winston-Salem State University, and professor Craig Richardson, the BB&T Professor of Economics at WSSU. The company is in the process of extending this research to additional facilities within the company’s global supply chain, including contractor facilities.

Employees live in households that more than meet basic needs

HanesBrands pays market-based competitive wages and benefits to employees around the globe in all disciplines and functions. The wages and benefits provided to employees in its supply chain enable employees to live in households that meet their basic needs and more. Over the past decade, the salaries for supply chain employees have increased at a compound average growth rate of more than 3 percent.

In addition to salary, including incentives, holiday pay, overtime/shift differential and seniority, the company’s supply chain employee compensation package typically includes a combination, if not all, of the following components:

  • Other compensatory compensation
  • Annual bonuses
  • School supplies for children of employees
  • Subsidized meals
  • Health insurance (either direct or paid to government)
  • Subsidized transportation

The company-funded independent research at four of its manufacturing facilities was conducted under academic rigor by professors Madjd-Sadjadi and Richardson to investigate and document workers’ lives and living conditions through the lens of the household unit. The data gathered showed that nearly all households are supported by multiple wage earners (and are often multigenerational in makeup). These studies suggest that families with at least one HanesBrands employee are often contributing to savings weekly, have monthly disposable income to use for “fun,” and have the wherewithal to acquire durable household goods, such as appliances, and electronics.

The totality of this data strongly indicates these families are meeting their basic needs and then some and are able to rise above their day-to-day physical needs in order to plan for the future. Very few of our employees hold second jobs and few live alone, typically being part of households that have multiple wage-earners that is the cultural norm. A large portion of employees’ families own their own home, and nearly all have the core household durable goods one would expect to meet basic needs. Significant percentages of employees report the ability to regularly add to savings and have income to expend on discretionary items.