Last updated on: June 12th, 2023
The Labour Law in Japan is regulated mainly by the Labor Standards Law of 1947 which governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, annual leave, special leaves & other employment relationships.The other acts that govern employment relationships are the Japan Constitution and Labor Contract Act of 2008.
Hours & Pay Regulations
An employee who has been in continuous employment for a period of at least 6 months calculated from the date of hiring and has worked for 80% of the total working days is entitled to a minimum annual paid leave of 10 days. For employees who have reported for work for less than 80% of the total working days, the employer is not required to grant the employee annual leave in the following year.
For the subsequent years, in case the employee’s attendance at work is at least 80% of the total working days for the previous year, then the number of annual leave days increases until the total number of annual leave reaches 20 days a year, as follows:
- 6 Months: 10 Days
- 1 Year 6 Months: 11 Days
- 2 Years 6 Months: 12 Days
- 3 Years 6 Months: 14 Days
- 4 Years 6 Months: 16 Days
- 5 Years 6 Months: 18 Days
- 6 Years 6 Months or More: 20 Days
Pay – Employees are entitled to either average wage or the number of wages that would normally be paid for working hours to the employees during the period of annual leave.
Timing of vacation – The employer grants paid leave during the period requested by the employees unless it would interfere with the normal operation of the enterprise in which case, the employer may grant the leave during another period.
Manner of taking a vacation – Annual leave may be taken either in a consecutive period or divided periods of time.
Carry forward of leave – Up to two years of unused vacation may be carried forward. Employers are required to provide a specific time period during the year in which the employees who are entitled to 10 or more days of annual leave can take 5 days of annual leave compulsorily. Labor Standards Law, 1947, Art. 39.
Effective October 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Japan is ¥1070 per hour.
There is no provision for sick leave in the legislation. Generally, employees use paid annual leave for sick reasons.
Employees are entitled to time off from work due to work-related illness or injury but not for non-work-related injury/illness. The employer shall pay compensation for the leave of absence of the employee due to work-related injury or illness at a rate of 60% of the employee’s average wage plus medical costs. Labor Standards Law, 1947, Art. 75 – 77.
A female employee is entitled to take maternity leave for up to 6 weeks preceding the expected date of birth, up to 14 weeks if she is expected to give birth to more than one child. After childbirth, the mother is required to take 8 weeks’ leave.
Employment insurance provides compensation of 67% of the employee’s wages for six weeks of maternity leave prior to childbirth, 14 weeks if the mother is expecting more than one child and 8 weeks after.
A female employee with a child under 1 year of age is entitled to two unpaid 30-minute rest breaks to care for the infant in addition to the usual break time. A pregnant employee may request time off, during the scheduled working hours, for receiving the health guidance or medical examinations. No salary shall be paid for the period of the time off. Labor Standards Law, 1947, Art. 65 – 67A.
Employees are entitled to up to 1 year of partially paid leave to care for a child up to the child’s 1st birthday and if the mother cannot obtain child care until the child is 2 years old.
Childcare leave for childbirth can be taken for up to 4 weeks (28 days) within 8 weeks after the birth of a child, except for women who give birth and women who adopt a child.
Child care leave begins after maternity leave and can be taken by both male and female employees. A request for child care leave may only be refused in the below circumstances:
- A collective bargaining agreement prohibits taking leave.
- The employee has worked for the employer for less than one year;
- In the case of fixed-term employees it is clear that the employment relationship will end before the child turns 1 year old; or
- The employee works two days or fewer per week.
Effective October 1, 2022, an employer will be required to establish a workplace environment where employees can easily take childcare leave by implementing training regarding childcare leave and paternity leave, appointing a department/individual with whom employees may consult regarding childcare leave and paternity leave, record keeping of cases where its own employees actually took childcare leave and/or paternity leave and to share such cases with employees; or notify its own employees of the system regarding childcare leave and paternity leave.
Pay – Social Security pays the benefit at the rate of 67% of the employee’s salary. Child Care and Family Leave Law, 1991, No. 76, Art. 5.
A male employee will be allowed to take paternity leave for up to 4 weeks within 8 weeks after the birth of his child. This paternity leave can be taken by dividing the leave into two separate periods. A male employee who desires to continue to work during his paternity leave may continue to work under working conditions agreed to by the employee if a labor-management agreement is concluded.
Pay – Social Security pays the benefit at the rate of 67% of the employee’s salary.
An employee is entitled to take time off from work to care for sick/injured family members in the below manner:
- Short term leaves – Employees can take up to 5 days of leave to accompany a family member who requires nursing care to the hospital, etc (the limit increases to 10 days if there are two or more family members who require nursing care).
- Long-term leave – An employee who has a family member requiring constant nursing care because of injury, sickness, or physical or mental disability may take care leave each time this family member is in such a situation. The maximum period of nursing care leave is 93 days in total per family member.
Employees are entitled to avail of such leave on an hourly basis at any time during working hours. Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave, §5.
An employee is entitled to take time off to vote or perform other public duties. Labor Standards Act, 1947, No. 49 Art.7.
An employee raising a child not yet of elementary school age may take leave without pay to care for the child in the event of illness or injury. Such leave is limited to five working days per fiscal year for parents with one preschool-age child and 10 days for those with two or more children.
An employee is entitled to take leave on an hourly basis at any time during working hours. Employees who work for less than 4 hours a day are also entitled to take off on an hourly basis from work to provide care to the sick/injured child. Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave, §2-16 and 61.
An employer must provide leave if a woman requests it because work during her menstrual period would be especially difficult. The employer is not required to pay during such leave. Labor Standards Law, 1947, Art. 68.