• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. could introduce a system next April to halve the working hours of factory employees who are rehired after reaching the retirement age, company sources said.

The automaker is apparently hoping to maintain domestic employment levels and reduce labor costs at a time when earnings are being clobbered by the strong yen, the sources said Saturday.

The re-employed retirees also would be asked to help train the younger ones, the sources said.

The system would be implemented either by keeping the rehired retirees’ work hours the same while halving the number of days worked each month, or by halving their daily work hours and using them five days a week.

Toyota’s production section has about 1,300 re-employed workers, or around 4 percent of its total employees in the technical field. The figure is projected to rise to about 3,100, or about 10 percent, by 2030.

The proposal may spur other companies to introduce similar measures following the enactment of legislation that requires businesses to secure employment for anyone who wants to work until age 65. Employees must retire at 60.

At present, Toyota rehires full-time employees at only half the salary they were earning before retirement.

Toyota plans to discuss the plan in greater detail with its union.

At a meeting held by the two sides in August, the company stressed the importance of older employees handing down their skills to younger workers, but the union expressed concerns that halving their working hours would severely disrupt their daily lives and routines.

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