The fast-food chain giant reportedly says it has no plans to recalculate unpaid wages
McDonald's Japan has greatly expanded the number employee shift types it has under the variable working hours system while facing a lawsuit on the matter, according to reports.
The shift types were hiked from four to nearly 200 in its employment regulations in April 2022, the Mainichi Shimbun reported last week.
The change affects roughly 2,000 workers from about 900 outlets nationwide that are using the system, according to the report.
McDonald's Japan implemented the boost while it was dealing with a wrongful dismissal lawsuit from a former employee on the company's performance improvement goals.
The company, however, denied that the case was the only reason for the expansion.
"We increased the listing due to a variety of factors, and not solely because of the lawsuit," a spokesperson told the Mainichi Shimbun.
Working hour system invalid
In October 2022, the Nagoya District Court ruled that McDonald's Japan's variable working hour system was invalid, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.
The system, which is stipulated on Japan's Labour Standards Act, allows employers to calculate total work hours either on a monthly or yearly basis. McDonald's Japan implemented the system on a monthly basis and introduced it to its employment regulations.
A former employee, however, alleged that he was forced out of his job because of the company's performance improvement goals that were difficult to achieve. According to the employee, he was working on a shift that differed from the fast-food chain's rules.
McDonald's Japan initially defended that it was "impossible to set shifts that are common to all stores," the Mainichi Shimbun reported.
The Nagoya District Court recognised that even though there were different work shifts across stores, not all of them followed employment regulations.
"Store-specific work shifts that are not stipulated in the work rules do not meet the requirements of the Labor Standards Act," the district court said as quoted by the Mainichi Shimbun.
McDonald's Japan appealed the ruling to the high court, but it only upheld in June the district court's decision.
"The Labor Standards Act permits a variable working hour system within the scope that does not damage workers' life planning and does not allow employers to arbitrarily change working hours for business reasons," the court ruled as quoted by the Mainichi Shimbun.
The former employee was rewarded JPY610,000 in back pay, but failed to get their job back at the food chain.
Meanwhile, McDonald's Japan told the Mainichi Shimbun that despite hiking its employee shift types, it won't be recalculating unpaid wages for all employees.