Mandatory leave in Japan to prevent overwork death

In Japan, it is nothing new for office workers to work too much overtime, and some even die of overwork. Recently, Japan has set a mandatory holiday standard to make “workaholics” responsible for their health.

According to the survey of the Ministry of health, labor and welfare of Japan, although the average holiday in 2013 was 18.5 days, the average holiday of Japanese employees was only 9 days. According to another survey, 1 / 6 of employees did not take the time off with pay in that year. As the corporate culture of Japan stresses “taking the company as the home”, there is also a saying among the people that “hard work can cultivate character”, which makes 22% of enterprise employees “workaholics” who have never taken leave at all, resulting in an average of about 200 “overworked deaths” in Japan every year.

To this end, the Japanese Ministry of health, labor and welfare will take compulsory measures to ensure that every employee has at least five days of paid leave every year. This plan is tentatively determined to be implemented from April 2016, starting with well-known major enterprises in Japan, and striving to cover all large, medium and small enterprises in Japan by April 2019. If some small and medium-sized enterprises are indeed short of staff, they should give certain compensation to employees who have not taken leave or have taken less leave. In addition, the Japanese government has set a goal to increase the proportion of paid leave for employees of Japanese enterprises to 70% by 2020.

On February 6, the Ministry of health, labor and welfare submitted a bill to the Congress, and is currently adjusting the implementation details, such as the maximum number of days of paid leave and leave subsidies. The Ministry of labor, health and welfare will also introduce certain punishment measures for those enterprises that refuse to provide employees with holidays or employees who have endless holidays.

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