Apple Admits To Having Underage Labor In Factories

Apple has always positioned itself as the computer and electronics brand of the hip and young — and it looks like they extended that ethos to their overseas manufacturing. The iCompany has issued an “oops” on its Web site, admitting that underage workers were employed in three different Apple-affiliated plants last year.

In its annual compliance report, Apple confesses, “Across the three facilities, our auditors found records of 11 workers who had been hired prior to reaching the legal age, although the workers were no longer underage or no longer in active employment at the time of our audit.”

The report, which doesn’t specify which of the plants were in violation, does say that the legal age in the countries involved is 16.

In addition to the kid labor admission, Apple admitted that more than half of the 102 audited plants had violated the company’s regulations regarding the work week. Apple states that employees work no more than 60 hours in a week, and must receive a full day’s rest per seven days of work.

However:

At 60 facilities, we found records that indicated workers had exceeded weekly work-hour limits more than 50 percent of the time. Similarly, at 65 facilities, more than half of the records we reviewed indicated that workers had worked more than six consecutive days at least once per month. To address these issues, we required each facility to develop management systems or improve existing systems—to drive compliance with Apple’s limits on work hours and required days of rest.

The whipping continues as Apple reports that 57 plants “with deficient payments in worker benefits, such as sick leave, maternity leave, or social insurance for retirement.”

Even worse, the audit found 45 facilities where wage reductions were being used “for disciplinary purposes.”

In response, Apple writes, “While the deductions we discovered may be legal under local laws, Apple has required an end to this practice.”

Download the entire PDF here.

Apple: Underage Workers May Have Built Your iPhone [PCWorld]