Japanese employers increasingly are taking advantage of a program to teach job skills to foreign workers by paying them well under the minimum wage for overtime work, according to the Justice Ministry.
In one particularly egregious case, foreign trainees were paid a paltry 350 yen per hour for overtime even though the minimum wage was 651 yen.
In 2005, a total of 180 such instances were reported to the Justice Ministry. The figure for the first seven months of this year already stands at 125, officials said.
In many cases, employers failed to pay even the minimum wage to interns for overtime work. In some cases, employers forced trainees to learn job skills at workplaces not authorized by the ministry, officials said.
The decision earlier this week by McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) to make up for inadequate overtime wages and nonscheduled cash earnings owed to nearly 130,000 part-time and regular-payroll workers has sent a shock wave through industries heavily dependent on employees paid by the hour.
A Tokyo-based managers’ union that has also received complaints about McDonald’s said the nonexistence of a union is one factor behind the problems with part-time workers’ pay.
Staff Service Group is facing allegations that it systematically forced about 4,000 employees nationwide to work overtime and neglected to pay a total of about 3 billion yen in wages, according to sources.
“Bic Camera allegedly failed to pay overtime allowances totaling 127 million yen to some 110 employees at its outlets in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro and Shinjuku districts between December 2003 and last November. Failure to pay overtime is a violation of the Labor Standards Law.”