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Apple putting the squeeze on retail employees as some stores see traffic double

With sales booming in line with a rapid rate of innovative product introductions, Apple's international retail chain has come under heavy pressure from a striking increase in customer traffic, prompting the company to initiate tighter scheduling restrictions for employees who'll now be required to spend more of their weekend downtime on the job.

Demand for Apple's products has resulted in a steep uptick in visitor traffic among the company's retail stores, with some locations reporting a doubling of their traffic over the past four years, according to a report by IFOAppleStore.

Following the appointment of a new retail head, Apple's stores are reportedly "changing weekend work requirements, and increasing the mandatory minimum hours for part-timers," a new policy that hasn't gone over well with some retail workers.

Current full-time workers are reportedly now "required to work at least one weekend day each week." However, due to the increased store traffic Apple is said to be gearing up to start counting Friday as a "weekend day," and is stipulating that even full timers, including Family Room and Red Zone Specialists, Creatives and Geniuses, must work two of the three weekend days, when visitors peak.

The report notes, "full-time employees must already accommodate Apple by being available to work every hour their store is open, up to 40 hours per week. Part-timers must also offer wide availability, but only for a certain 40-hour window determined by management."

Under the revised rules, which are said to become effective April 15, part-time workers' minimum weekly hours are being boosted from 16 hours to 24 hours. Apple reportedly said it would "try to accommodate time-off requests (made three weeks in advance)," but the new rules are causing some employees to consider whether or not to quit their employment with Apple.

Apple's retail workers in the US and in other affluent areas face the opposite criticisms of its contract manufacturing partners located largely in China. There, worker advocates are fighting to reduce the number of hours, particularly overtime hours, that individuals are asked to work.

After winning concessions from Foxconn management to limit the numbers of overtime hours workers can perform in a month, some workers have complained that they want to work long hours where they are paid more for overtime.