New laws introduced to force Japanese workers to take more time off
We at the recruitment agency Elite HR would recommend that you are careful to regularly consider the importance of your company’s employees taking the appropriate number of holidays. By ‘appropriate’, we mean sufficient for them to recharge their batteries and so return to work feeling enthusiastic and reenergised. We can assist your company in filling its senior HR jobs with people who can suitably take this into account. These people could look at what has recently happened in Japan, where the government has introduced measures intended to up the percentage of paid leave that workers in the Land of the Rising Sun take.
More people soon to be rising late in the Land of the Rising Sun?
The Japanese government is aiming to prevent employees from literally working themselves to death – or prevent, to use an apt Japanese term, ‘karoshi’. It is aiming to do this through revising the country’s Labour Standards Law and, as a result, increasing the proportion of available paid leave that is actually taken up by Japanese workers from the figure of 48.8% in 2013 to 70% by 2020. This has been reported by the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s five national newspapers.
An interesting issue for the Japanese to tackle
A survey of regular workers in Japan, carried out by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training in 2011, revealed that 60% of the respondents were reluctant to take paid leave, despite being legally entitled to it, as “taking time off would be an inconvenience to colleagues”. Meanwhile, just over half – 53%, to be exact – of the respondents claimed that they had “no time for days off due to a heavy workload”.
The Labour Standards Law, as it stands, permits workers who have been in continuous employment for more than six months to take paid leave of anything from 10 to 20 days each year. Also, the number of paid leave days that a worker is entitled to rises by one day for every year that they are continuously employed. Still, if an employee wants paid leave, they must request it from their company; the company is not violating the law if they do not grant paid leave to an employee who has not requested it. This whole issue of untaken paid leave is certainly an intriguing one for Japan to address – and, perhaps, could inspire your own company to look at how it looks after its own workers.