Honda to advance holidays to deal with low postquake operating rate

Kyodo

Honda Motor Co. will give factory employees 14 extra days off between June and August in place of holidays normally taken in the latter half of fiscal 2011 because the supply chain disruptions caused by the March 11 disasters have lowered its operating rates, company sources said late Sunday.

Moving up the holidays from the October-March period will also help the major automaker prepare for a recovery in production when the supply chain is restored, the sources said.

The company is also considering requiring workers to take unpaid leave in June, the sources said, adding that it would be the first time ever.

Honda has said it expects to run at about half its production capacity until the end of June and that it will take until the end of this year to normalize output.

Employees at its Saitama and Suzuka factories for finished four-wheel cars, as well as most staff at its Tochigi plant and some at its Hamamatsu factory for components will take four-day weekends to receive one extra day off in June, 10 in July, and three in August.

It is also highly likely that these employees will be required to take up to 17 days of unpaid leave in June, the sources said, adding that similar steps may be avoided in July and August.