Just as Apple promised, the company has updated its Supplier Responsibility page in order to keep the concerned public up-to-date about overseas factory working conditions. Apple’s enormous success has thrust the issue straight into the public eye, prompting audits by the Fair Labor Association and even a primetime special by ABC Nightline.
According to Apple, the company is making strides in its effort to create a better work environment.
Regarding additional protections for workers ages 16 to 18, Apple wrote:
Preventing underage labor is only part of our efforts. We also monitor the treatment of workers who are old enough to work legally but are younger than 18. We don’t allow these workers to perform some types of work, even in cases where local laws allow it. Our standards also require factories to adhere to student labor laws and to ensure that schools and universities follow the laws as well, which is particularly important as factories increasingly turn to these institutions for student interns.
In addition, Apple has been working to address excessive work hours by limiting factory working hours to a max of 60 work hours per week. The company also mandates at least one day of rest per seven days of work. Apple also explains the reasons behind excessive work hours and the reduction efforts that are being implemented.
In our effort to end the industry practice of excessive overtime, we’re working closely with our suppliers to manage employee working hours. Weekly data collected in January 2012 on more than 500,000 workers employed by our suppliers showed 84 percent compliance with the 60-hour work week specified in our code. In February 2012, compliance with the 60-hour work week among 500,000 workers at those suppliers increased to 89 percent, with workers averaging 48 hours per week. That’s a substantial improvement over previous results, but we can do better. We will continue to share our progress by reporting this data on a monthly basis.
Apple’s Supplier Responsibility page also covers health & safety issues, including the required standards factories must meet to provide worker well-being. It appears Apple was making a concerted effort to reduce employee hours, even while working to get the new iPad out the door, but the company still feel it “can do better.”