Apple supplier monitoring shows 95% overtime compliance in March

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Apple's supplier responsibility group reports that overtime compliance among a set of 500,000 workers it collects data on reached 95 percent in March, up from 89 percent in February.

The Cupertino, Calif., company's supplier code of conduct sets a limit of 60 work hours per week for factory employees and requires at least one day of rest per seven days of work.

After tracking a consistent set of suppliers and workers, Apple claimed "substantial improvement" from February to March, as noticed by The Next Web. According to the company, 95 percent of workers were in compliance last month with Apple's requirements.

"Encouraged by the success of this program to date, we expanded our weekly tracking to even more facilities deeper in the supply chain, and we are now monitoring compliance for over 800,000 workers," Apple wrote on its website.

Compliance for the larger set of suppliers stood at 91 percent in March. Apple promised to continue reporting the monitoring results "in the coming months."

The Fair Labor Association recently found violations of Apple's policy at partner Foxconn after conducting a thorough audit of the manufacturer's facilities. Foxconn pledged to limit overtime to just 9 hours a week in order to comply with Chinese laws. However, factory workers were quick to express concern that the changes would affect their livelihood.

"We have just been told that we can only work a maximum of 36 hours a month of overtime," worker Chen Yamei told Reuters last month. "I tell you, a lot of us are unhappy with this. We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little."

Apple issued its annual supplier responsibility report in January. The company conducted 229 audits throughout its supply chain last year, up 80 percent from 2010.

The company has also agreed to independent environmental audits of its supply chain. Activist Ma Jun said recently that Apple has "changed a lot" for the better in terms of openness about its suppliers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook even made his own visit to an iPhone production line at a Foxconn factory in China late last month. During his trip, Cook also visited retail stores in the country and met with high-level government officials.