El Salvador Sew

On March 4, 2024, FLA initiated a Third Party Complaint (TPC) investigation at the Confecciones El Pedregal facility in El Salvador (El Salvador Sew), a HanesBrands Inc. (HBI) owned facility. This followed submission by the union federation Federación de Asociaciones y Sindicatos Independientes de El Salvador (FEASIES).

The primary issue in this investigation was the difference between FLA’s Workplace Compliance Benchmarks and Salvadorean legal requirements in the calculation and payment of workers’ severance following the retrenchment of over 700 El Salvador Sew workers in mid-November 2023. Simultaneously, HBI announced the plans for the gradual closure of this facility.

The FLA gave HBI an opportunity to address the allegations prior to the initiation of the TPC investigation. HBI engaged directly with the Complainant, but they were unable to reach a resolution after three months of discussion.

FLA commissioned an independent investigator, Ena Nuñez O’Brien, to investigate the allegations in the FEASIES complaint.

The scope of the investigation included the allegation of the incorrect calculation and payment of severance for those workers terminated in mid-November by the Factory in noncompliance with FLA Workplace Compliance Benchmark ER 15.4.1. The investigation also evaluated the entire retrenchment process of over 700 workers and the status of the planned Factory closure.

The on-site visit took place on March 14, 15 and 18, 2024. The Investigator encountered some limitations on getting access to relevant information, including the ability to interview active workers at the Facility premises. Despite not having access to all the required documentation, the Investigator conducted a thorough investigation, collecting evidence from a variety of other resources including off-site interviews with workers terminated in mid-November and current workers at the time the investigation took place, and an interview with a governmental representative of El Salvador Ministry of Labor.

This evidence was enough to corroborate that the calculation of workers’ severance payouts was not in compliance with FLA Workplace Compliance Benchmark ER. 15.4.1. The Investigator also found HBI violated other local legal regulations and failed to comply with FLA Workplace Benchmarks governing Terminations, Compensation and Non-Discrimination. The Investigator’s report goes into further detail and includes a list of over 19 recommendations to be implemented by HBI.

FLA welcomes the constructive engagement with its member company HanesBrands Inc. and the leadership of its Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Frank Vasquez throughout this investigation process and continuing through the review of the Investigator’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations. HBI has reaffirmed its commitment to remediate the noncompliance corroborated through the TPC investigation and ensure the implementation of the reports’ recommendations.

For HBI, the remediation phase of the TPC will be especially challenging in terms of the time frame, as after postposing multiple times the final closure of the El Salvador Sew facility, the company has announced to the workforce that it anticipates that the Factory will close by September 2024.