Japanese employers exploiting foreign trainees and interns

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.


McDonald’s to pay millions in unpaid overtime

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.