TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. has lifted companywide restrictions on overtime that were implemented during the global financial crisis, the latest sign of its return to health.
Toyota laid down the guidelines for minimizing overtime in December 2008, just as the company was about to report its first operating loss in seven decades.
Toyota initially trimmed overtime to 10 hours per month for each worker. But it ended all overtime in June 2009. The policy was soft, allowing after-hours work during such periods as this year’s global recall crisis and the rush to keep up with booming orders for the Prius hybrid.
Many Japanese companies cut back on overtime during the financial crisis and are now bringing back longer hours as the economy recovers. Toyota expects its operating profit to more than double to $3.72 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2010.
Ramping up overtime is also part of a push to restore mentoring for less-experienced workers.
“When people were trying to meet limited overtime hours, there was a tendency for experienced employees to just handle the task at hand by themselves rather than taking the time to teach someone else the ropes,” Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said.
The result was missed opportunities to train green employees.
The overtime restrictions affected about 60,000 office and factory workers in Japan. Toyota would not disclose how much money it was able to save through the initiative.