Clear stand against child labour

A clear stand against child labour

We take a clear stand against all use of child labour and it is a minimum requirement for all factories producing for H&M. Today it is rare that we discover any workers below the statutory minimum age in our supplier factories.  We continously monitor compliance with this essential requirement in all factories. If we discover any person below the statutory minimum age we have a clear policy in place that guides us to act in the best interests of the child.

Agreement on a good solution

On the few occasions on which we have discovered underage workers at our suppliers we have acted in accordance with our policy. In co-operation with the supplier we have tried to find a solution that is in the best interests of the child. The family is contacted and in most cases the family accepts that the child should continue with some kind of education until he or she is 15 years old, or until the legal workingl age in the country in question (but not lower than 14 years). Wages continue to be paid during the study period so that the family does not lose its income.

In some cases an older member of the household has been offered work instead of the child. In a few cases the child and the family concerned preferred the solution of the child returning to his or her home, which may be hundreds of kilometres away. In such cases the supplier has made a one-off payment to compensate for the cost of the ticket and loss of wages.

A better future

On each individual occasion our ultimate aim is to help the child to a better future. Our policy in respect of child labour must not result in children being dismissed from factories without any follow-up, with the risk that he or she will instead end up in heavier and more dangerous work or – in the worst case – in prostitution. In order to assure ourselves of this in the best way possible we have built up networks of local contacts, such as schools and voluntary organisations, which know the local circumstances and can help us to find good solutions.

Age assessment

We also have contacts with doctors who can help us to judge the age of those who we think look particularly young during our factory audits. Often no documentation is found and in the worst case neither the families nor the child knows how old he or she is. Lack of documentation is a big problem and we are constantly working on getting our suppliers to improve their routines, so that they can give a serious assurance that everyone who is working in their factory has reached the legal age for employment. We require some kind of proof of age to be checked on employment or, if there is no such proof, for a doctor to establish his or her approximate age.

Consequences of non-compliance

Since we take child labour very seriously, we are very strict with our suppliers. The first time a child is discovered working for a supplier or its subcontractor we demand that the supplier takes its responsibilities seriously and, together with H&M, finds a solution that is in the best interests of the child. If we find child labour being employed by the same supplier – or one of its subcontractors – on a second occasion we cease co-operating with the supplier for good. This has occurred on a few occasions.

Conscious Actions

Find out all we do in order to choose and reward responsible partners.

H&M uses cookies to give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use our services, we'll assume that you're happy with this. Find out more about cookies