Work culture in Japan is something people can either be proud or disappointed of. By investing long hours, the people have propelled Japan’s economy among the region’s — and the world’s — strongest for some time.
However, it seems that this culture is already becoming a point of grievance among workers, owing to the fact that there is little time for family, let alone to invest in other social activities, which could yield benefits to the country’s social structure.
In line with this, a recent survey in Japan revealed that half of respondents think that the mandatory use of at least five paid leave days each year, a measure introduced in April under the working style reform law, still falls short of what is ideal and beneficial for residents, as shared in a report by the Japan Times.
According to the survey conducted by Jiji Press, 48.6% of respondents said the number of paid holidays required to be taken is not enough, while 35.6% said the number is enough. A total of 15.8 percent said they were not sure.
Under the law introduced in June last year, companies are required to have employees who receive 10 days or more of paid holiday a year go on a mandatory five-days off during the year.
With multiple answers allowed, 50.1% of respondents who thought the requirement was adequate said they were satisfied with the number of holidays currently available to them.
Meanwhile, a total of 44.1% expressed that they were concerned about possible problems at work stemming from additional use of paid leave; 19.2% were worried about trouble that may be caused to their colleagues; and 7.2% shared that they had nothing to do during holidays.
Additionally, the government looks to introduce an equal-pay-for-equal-work system which addresses unreasonable discrimination based on employment status. Large companies must adopt the system from April next year, and smaller businesses from April 2021.
Regarding these proposed changes, the survey showed that 36.2% support the system while 30.5% said they are generally are in favour of it.
Meanwhile, 7.4% of the respondents expressed their opposition towards the system, while 17.5% said they generally disagree with it.
Breaking a habit or an age-long tradition as in the case of the Japanese work culture can be overwhelming for some, but as the Japanese workforce looks to become less homogeneous in the years to come, a shift in worldviews as in the perception of ideal work standards is expected. At this point, considerate guidance and education are needed to deliver the changes meant to improve the Japanese labour system.