The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is studying whether to introduce long leaves at companies to allow people to rebuild their careers and lifestyles.
A ministry study group is looking into the possibility of six-month to one-year leaves without wages.
The group is assuming prospective candidates for such leave would have spent a considerable time with their employers, achieved certain accomplishments, have been core members and would remain with their employers in the future.
The group thinks such a system would boost motivation at a time when the economy appears finally to be emerging from a long recession but where workers are still under strong pressure from business restructuring and possible unemployment.
The group will compile a report this spring, which the ministry will use to study measures to promote the system, the officials said.