Apple Claims Improved Compliance on Excessive Worker Hours

Apple updated its Supplier Responsibility site on Wednesday with new information on the company’s efforts to curb excessive working hours for employees at the factories that make Apple products. According to the update, in February 89 percent of the 500,000 employees currently being monitored were in compliance with the 60-hour work week rule specified by Apple, up from 84 percent in January. The company also said that workers averaged 48 hours per week.

“That’s a substantial improvement over previous results,” Apple added, “but we can do better. We will continue to share our progress by reporting this data on a monthly basis.”

Chinese Workers Making Apple Laptops

Workers assemble and perform quality control checks on MacBook Pro display enclosures at an Apple supplier facility in Shanghai.
Source: Apple

Apple has been under fire for working conditions in the factories Apple outsources its manufacturing to, sparked in part by a This American Life report produced with Mike Daisey, the creator of The Agony and Ecstacy of Steve Jobs. While that report heightened attention on Apple for this issue, This American Life retracted the story on Friday and claimed that Mike Daisey fabricated some of the report.

In the meanwhile, however, Apple stepped up its efforts to ensure compliance with the worker safety and conditions code the company long had in place. The company joined the Fair Labor Association, arranged for Nightline to tour a factory, and CEO Tim Cook said publicly that Apple takes the well being of its workers and the workers at its manufacturing facilities seriously.

At the same time, Foxconn, Apple’s largest manufacturing partner, increased wages, wages that were already higher than the prevailing wages of that region of China.

Apple also launched the Supplier Responsibility site where it posts its code of conduct, reports on compliance with that code, health and safety information, an environmental impact report, and an ethics report. It was this site that was updated, as noted by Daring Fireball.