Labor laws have been an ongoing issue for the electronics industry in China, and now Hewlett Packard is making moves to promote fair labor practices across its workforce. The computer manufacturer has issued new guidelines to its Chinese partners, including Foxconn, to implement fresh labor regulations that will limit the use of students and temporary workers.
These restrictions, according to the New York Times, will give students more control over their work hours. Factories throughout the country have been known to rely on high school students, vocational students and temporary workers when demand increases and labor is scarce. Administrators at high schools close to these factories have even pressured pupils to work long hours on short notice in fields with no relevance to their studies.
However, this will all change for HP workers in due time. The new rules, which were given to Chinese suppliers on Friday morning, mandate that all work must be voluntary. In addition, students and temporary workers must be allowed to leave the workplace at any time “upon reasonable notice without negative repercussions.” For students, these regulations also mandate that all work must be relevant to the pupil’s “primary area of study.”
This move echoes a similar policy change from Apple to shift attention toward student workers, and signifies that unfair labor practices could become more of a priority for electronics makers in China.