An Employer’s Guide to Annual Leave Entitlements in Japan

If you are employing in Japan you will find an unusual situation when it comes to annual leave.  Many western nations grant generous leave that employees are eager to take, such as in Europe where 30 days of annual leave is commonly offered. 

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If you are employing in Japan you will find an unusual situation when it comes to annual leave.  Many western nations grant generous leave that employees are eager to take, such as in Europe where 30 days of annual leave is commonly offered.  But in Japan the work culture is such that employees are actually reluctant to take leave days and miss work, fearing it will affect their career.

A study showed that the average Japanese employee only takes 60 percent of their leave each year, leading to problems with overwork and burnout.  In response, the Japanese government imposed a new law in 2019 that stipulated an employee is required to take at least 5 days of leave each year, and the employer must confirm that or face penalties.

Many employees will take annual leave when they are sick as there is no sick leave in Japan, and apparently, that is permitted.  As an employer in Japan, you will want to be aware of all these nuances to avoid any problems with non-compliance, so we will provide you with the basic guidelines.

How many annual leave days are employees entitled to in Japan?

Employees in Japan are entitled to 10 to 20 annual leave days depending on the length of service. Here are the maximum statutory leave days based on years of service with the same employer, beginning after six months of employment...read more

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Tim Burgess

Director, Shield GEO Services Ltd