Apple audit reveals child labour, underpaid employees

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An audit commissioned by Apple on its suppliers has found that three facilities had hired employees that were 15 years old in countries where the minimum age of employment is sixteen; along with eight facilities charging agency recruitment fees in excess of legal limits.

While not named, it is assumed the factories that have failed in Apple’s audit were in China, the home of where most of Apple goods are assembled.

Apple also has factories in Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, the Czech Republic and the United States.

Apple also found that several previous employees were previously hired prior turning sixteen.

The report is pretty damning on its suppliers, with 54 percent of its suppliers locations exceeding Apple’s 60 work hours per week and worked more than six consecutive days at least once per month. Also noted was that 37 percent of all facilities failed to respect anti-discrimination laws, while 43 percent of those audited failed Apple’s Environment Impact section of its Code of Conduct.

Three facilities were found to have hired non-certified hazardous waste disposal companies to dispose of chemical waste, and ordered them to hire certified ones and to check their wastewater discharge systems.

Also found in the report was that 48 of the 102 facilities audited had underpaid overtime wages; and 24 facilities had paid their employees less than the minimum wage. 57 facilities were found to have underpaid legally required benefits – like sick leave, maternity leave or social insurance for retirement.

Apple, obviously, is not happy with the outcomes of the audit and has made many changes including forcing suppliers to reimburse $2.2 million in recruitment fee overcharges, training programs (train-the-trainer program) for all management staff and, the favourite among many, the threat of termination of employment.