Japanese forced to take holiday

The Times recently reported that Japan is to force workers to take their paid holidays in an attempt to combat a culture of excessive work that has led to soaring levels of stress and suicide. The plan is to create a new law in order to make companies ensure that their staff are taking at least five days off a year.

The changes come after a survey showed that most holidays in Japan were not taken. It is reported that the average Japanese worker is entitled to 18.5 paid days off, but in 2013 took only nine. More than 16 per cent of employees took no holidays. The new law will make it the responsibility of the employers to make sure leave is used, or they could face fines.

Overworking can have serious effects on a person; not only increasing stress levels but potentially result in heart conditions or mental health issues. Every business has a responsibility to ensure it follows the relevant rules and regulations of legislation. If you are an employer, contact us and we can help you do everything you can to get it right. It was reported that a staggering 338 Japanese workers died in 2012 of brain or heart conditions caused by overworking. An increase in Japanese workers suffering from mental illness rose to 475, 93 of whom killed themselves or attempted suicide.

Time away from work allows the body to rest, recuperate and grow, however it is becoming increasingly less likely that enough rest will be taken in todays workaholic culture – employees feel guilty, weak or bad for taking the time that is legally owed to them. Studies have shown that taking a holiday increases productivity; levels of strength; helps reconnect personal relationships and improves levels of sleep.

The Japanese government hope that the new law will not only make the nation a happier one, but will encourage more household spending on shopping, travel, entertainment, and even increase the birth rate.

It is important for any employer to ensure a happy and safe working environment. It is a legal requirement for all employees and workers in the UK to take 5.6 weeks’ holiday each year and employers must ensure that they do so to ensure that they are not beaching the working time regulations. It is very much a benefit to both employee and business for time away from the working environment to be taken. For more information on holidays and pay in the UK, click here.

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