NEC introduces flextime for 7,000

NEC Corp. has adopted a flexible work system under which 7,000 future managers, or 30 percent of the total workforce, can choose their own hours and job priorities, company officials said Wednesday.

The new system, which begins this month, is designed to encourage achievers, they said.

Under the system, NEC pays salaries for regular work hours plus one hour of overtime.

If employees work more than that, they receive no additional pay, the officials said.

NEC pays workers based on performance, and the flextime system is being introduced to match this policy, company officials said.

Employees can apply for temporary exclusion from the system in cases where their workloads sharply increase, the officials said.

Fujitsu Ltd. and Sharp Corp. meanwhile have dropped their flextime programs and have gone back to a set working-hour system.

Major electronics makers have been changing their work systems to improve employee efficiency amid fierce international competition.

The move by NEC will create the largest discretionary working-hour system in the nation in terms of employee numbers, according to Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry officials.

NEC first introduced a flexible work system in 1993 for about 300 staff in the research and development division.

It has expanded the system to about 30 percent of its total workforce of 24,000 in line with a measure introduced by the labor ministry in February to expand the types of jobs for which the flexible working system can be introduced, the NEC officials said.