About this time last year, Apple was dealing with a wealth of bad press over the working conditions at its Asian suppliers. The New York Times painted a particularly bleak picture of the situation, with underpaid, underaged, overworked employees.
Since then, the company has really stepped up its game in supplier responsibility. The companies who used underage workers have been cut, workers have received pay raises, and as of January, 99% of them came in under the 60-hour work week limit…
“The number of workers we track has increased from over 500,000 in January 2012 to over 1 million in January 2013. In January 2013, we achieved 99% compliance to the 60-hour workweek across all employees we track.”
Apple started tracking supplier employee hours last fall, after it came under fire for allowing iPhone 5 production workers to be forced into overtime. It was said that high demand, mixed with complex building techniques, resulted in 16-hour work days.
The company has since set a work week limit of 60-hours for its suppliers. Employees are allowed to work overtime, in cases of high demand, but it is not a requirement. January’s 99% compliance rate is a nice improvement over its 88% reading last November.
It’s worth noting that Apple has announced a $100 million initiative to start moving some of its production tasks back to the US, where working standards are much higher. And it’s already begun assembling some Macs in a California-based Quanta plant.