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How to use your annual leave efficiently in Japan

| Posted Nov. 16, 2020 | Employee Rights
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One of the best things you can get from working in a Japanese company is the paid annual leave, which you can get after working consecutively for six months. Your first paid annual leave will be for 10 days, so you need to use it efficiently if you plan to explore Japan, or other countries on your days off.

 

First, you need to know the annual leave legislation in Japan

 

Source: Pixabay

 

The minimum paid annual leave is regulated by law in Japan, and you are eligible to have 10 days annual leave in your first year if you fulfil the conditions below:

 

- You’ve been working for at least 30 hours a week

- Presence of more than 80%        

- You’ve been working for 6 months

 

Your annual paid leave will increase the longer you stay at a company, and it stacks for 7 years to up to 20 days of paid leave per year. During your paid leave you will receive the same salary as if you worked your usual hours as set in your contract.

 

Years worked

0.5

1.5

2.5

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

Days of paid leave

10

11

12

14

16

18

20

 

The paid leave can be carried over to the next year if unused, but it will expire after two years.

 

So, how can you use your annual leave efficiently?

 

Source: Pixabay

 

You need to know the ABC of Japanese holidays to use your annual leave efficiently. Below is the public holidays for year 2021.

 

 

Name

Date

New Year’s Day

January 1

Coming of Age Day

January 11

National Foundation Day

February 11

Emperor’s birthday

February 23

Vernal Equinox Day

March 20

Showa Day

April 29

Constitution Memorial Day

May 3

Greenery Day

May 4

Children’s Day

May 5

Marine Day

July 22

Sports Day

July 23

Mountain Day (observed)

August 9

Respect for the Aged day

September 20

Autumnal Equinox Day

September 23

Culture Day

November 3

Labor Thanksgiving Day

November 23

 

In addition to the public holidays, you need to know about unofficial holidays listed below.

 

Name

Date

Obon

August 13-15

Year-end holidays

December 28-31

New Year’s holidays

January 1-3

 

Most Japanese companies close their office during Obon, and if they don’t close during Obon, usually they will give you 3 days off that can be taken in July, August, or September, but those holidays are upon request, so you need approval from your manager. The year-end holidays and New Year’s holidays vary depending on which company you are working for, but most companies start the year-end holiday from December 28.

 

One of the best ways is to connect your annual leave with public holidays, and if you do this, you can get at least 2 weeks off, but not every company allows you to do so, so make sure to discuss it with your manager first before taking your days off.

 

Once you get your approval, you can follow one of the patterns below to make the most of your annual leave.

 

Use your annual leave during Golden Week

 

Golden Week is a week from April 29 to early May containing a number of Japanese holidays, and you can use your annual leave during this period if you want to travel abroad. We recommend scheduling your days off as follows:

 

 

4/24

4/25

4/26

4/27

4/28

4/29

4/30

Saturday

Sunday

Annual leave

Annual leave

Annual leave

Public holiday

Annual leave

5/1

5/2

5/3

5/4

5/5

5/6

5/7

Saturday

Sunday

Public holiday

Public holiday

Public holiday

Annual leave

Annual leave

5/8

5/9

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday

Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will have sixteen days off if you schedule your annual leave like the above table, which lasts from April 24 until May 9.

 

Use your summer holidays and annual leave together in September

 

Japan has a series of public holidays in September, and if your company doesn’t close during Obon, you can use your summer holidays (usually 3 days off) and annual leave together in September. We recommend scheduling your annual leave as follows:

 

 

9/18

9/19

9/20

9/21

9/22

9/23

9/24

Saturday

Sunday

Public holiday

Summer holiday

Summer holiday

Public holiday

Summer holiday

9/25

9/26

9/27

9/28

9/29

9/30

10/1

Saturday

Sunday

Annual leave

Annual leave

Annual leave

Annual leave

Annual leave

10/2

10/3

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday

Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

By doing this, you will have 16 days off while still having the remaining half of your annual leave.

 

Use your annual leave in December together with the year-end holidays

 

Most Japanese companies start their year-end holidays from December 28 and won’t start their activities until January 4, so we recommend taking your annual leave together with your year-end holidays, so you can celebrate Christmas with your family or friends in Japan. We recommend scheduling your annual leave as follows:

 

 

12/25

12/26

12/27

12/28

12/29

12/30

12/31

Saturday

Sunday

Annual leave

Year-end holiday

Year-end holiday

Year-end holiday

Year-end holiday

1/1

1/2

1/3

1/4

1/5

1/6

1/7

New Year’s Day

New Year’s holiday

New Year’s holiday

Annual leave

Annual leave

Annual leave

Annual leave

1/8

1/9

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday

Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas is not a holiday in Japan, so we recommend taking your annual leave together with the year-end and New Year’s holidays if you want to celebrate it.

 

Save your annual leave, because in Japan there’s no sick leave!

 

Source: Pixabay

 

Unfortunately, Japan does not have a concept of (paid) sick leave, so you need to use your annual leave when you are a way from work for “non-work related” sickness. We recommend saving a few days of your annual leave for emergency matters, and if you don’t use them, you can use those days in the next year and treat yourself to a nice trip.

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