Paid Holidays, Days Off, & National Holidays

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■Paid holidays, Sick days, Days off, and National holidays

Days Off
Employers must grant employees at least one day off per week, or four days off in any four-week period. Sundays or public holidays need not necessarily be days off, and other days may be selected as employees’ days off instead by agreement between the employer and employees. (Article 35 of the Labour Standards Law).
Paid holidays are separate from the set holidays offered by the company (For example at New Years) and usually cannot be subtracted from your own personal holidays – but there are exceptions.

Paid Holidays
Annual leave with pay is to be given to workers who have been employed continuously for 6 months, and have worked for 80% or more of the whole working days. (Article 39 of the Labour Standards Law).Employers must grant 10 days paid leave to employees that worked for six consecutive months from the time of hiring and who worked on not less than 80 per cent of all schedule work days. This paid leave may be taken consecutively or separately. Where an employee’s application to take paid leave will hinder the normal business operations, the employer may require the employee to take such paid leave at a different time. The number of days of paid leave available to employees increases in proportion to employees’ length of service as set forth in the below table.

Years of Service 0.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.5 6.5+
Paid Holidays 10 11 12 14 16 18 20

Part time workers are also covered by this law and their paid holidays are based on the number of days worked per week and the length of service. See the below table.

Days worked
per week per year
Years Worked
0.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.5 6.5+
4 days or 169 7 8 9 10 12 13 15
3 days or 121 5 6 6 8 9 10 11
2 days or 73 3 4 4 5 6 6 7
2 days or 73 1 2 2 2 3 3 3

Remuneration for Paid Holidays

- Full time salaried employee:
Paid for the number of hours the worker would have normally worked.

– Part timer workers:
Either “the last 3 months total wages / number of days worked x 0.6” or “the last 3 months total wages / 92 days” – which ever is higher.

Expiration of Paid Holidays
The right to annual paid leave expires after two years. In other words, annual paid leave left over from one year may be carried over and taken the next year only.

For example, if an employee is awarded 10 days paid leave after their first 6 months of employment; those paid holidays will become invalid after 2.5 years of employment. Use them or lose them …

If you look at the holiday chart (left), employees that have been continuously employed at the same company for not less than seven years and six months can take a maximum of 40 days paid leave in any one year, including days that became available within that year and those carried over from the previous year.

Other Days Off
Employers are not required to grant paid leave days in addition to those described above to cover days on which employees did not work as a result of any non-work-related illness or injury, although many Japanese companies do grant a few additional days paid leave to employees for marriage, death of close relatives, and paternity leave.

Maternity, Childcare and Family Care Leave
Maternity, childcare and family care leave are also available – although may be unpaid – as set out by the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave.

Labour Laws
In principle, workers in Japan, regardless of nationality, are governed by Japanese labor laws and regulations For up to date information please see the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s foreign worker’s guidebook.
The Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training also has an English translation all labour-related laws – including the one’s mentioned here – in a printer-friendly PDF format at

To learn more about the Nagoya International Center,
please watch our video.

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