Toyota to raise overtime pay for 'voluntary' work
Automotive News Europe
May 23, 2008 06:01 CET
TOKYO (Reuters) -- Toyota, which a court recently ruled had worked one of
its employees to death, said on Thursday it would raise the limit on
overtime pay for activities it classifies as "voluntary."
Workers at the world's biggest automaker are expected to take part in
quality control activities outside working hours to seek ways to boost
efficiency and quality, but can only claim overtime for two hours of this a
Pressure has mounted on Toyota to change as workers complain about spending
far more time out of their personal lives.
A splinter labor union for Toyota workers formed in 2006 petitioned labor
regulators last week, asking them to force the company to improve its ways.
Overworking is a serious problem in Japan, where workers are often judged on
their dedication and unions typically toe the company line. On average,
workers use less than half of their paid holidays, government figures show.
Toyota said in a statement it would expand from June 1 the range of work it
would pay overtime for.
The company could not disclose the new limit on overtime pay, or how much it
would affect profits, a spokeswoman said.
As more Japanese embrace the idea of balancing work with leisure, companies
in Japan face increasing claims for work-related depression and have come
under pressure to take responsibility for "karoshi" (death from overwork).
Late last year, a district court ruled in favor of a widow of a Toyota
employee who said that overwork had caused the death of her 30-year-old
He had logged more than 106 hours of overtime in his final month at a car
plant, most of it unpaid, and the court ruled that his widow was entitled to
This month, a former Mazda Motor Corp. worker's parents filed a lawsuit
against the automaker claiming that harassment and overwork had pushed their
25-year-old son to suicide last year, Japanese media have said.
The pressure is not just coming in the autos sector. McDonald's Japan said
this week it would begin paying overtime to its restaurant managers from
August after a Tokyo court ordered the fast-food chain to pay 7.55 million
yen ($73,330) in overtime and compensation to a former manager.