National / Social Issues

Survey finds nearly 50% of Japanese think mandatory use of five days of paid leave is not enough


Nearly half of respondents in a recent poll think that 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 needed.

The survey by Jiji Press showed that 48.6 percent of respondents said the number of paid holidays required to be taken is not enough, while 35.6 percent said the number is enough. A total of 15.8 percent said they were not sure.

Under the law, which was enacted in June last year, companies are required to have employees who receive 10 days or more of paid holiday a year take at least five of those days during the year.

With multiple answers allowed, 50.1 percent of respondents who thought the requirement was adequate said they were satisfied with the number of holidays currently available to them.

A total of 44.1 percent said they were concerned about possible problems at work stemming from additional use of paid leave, 19.2 percent were worried about trouble that may be caused to their colleagues and 7.2 percent said they had nothing to do during holidays.

The law will also introduce an equal-pay-for-equal-work system that bans unreasonable discrimination based on employment status. Large companies must adopt the system from April next year, and smaller businesses from April 2021.

The survey showed that 36.2 percent support the system and 30.5 percent said they generally agree with it.

By contrast, 7.4 percent said they oppose the system and 17.5 percent said they generally disagree with it.

The interview-based survey was conducted for four days through May 13 and sought responses from 2,000 people aged 18 or over nationwide. Valid answers were provided by 62.8 percent.

Meanwhile, an opinion poll by a Tokyo staff placement company has shown that some 80 percent of employees said their working conditions have not changed even after working style reform legislation came into effect in April.

Workport Inc. conducted the online survey, mainly targeting registered users of its services, from mid-April to early May. Valid answers were provided by 280 respondents.

Those who said the companies where they work have revised their work-related systems stood at 31.1 percent, while 42.9 percent said the opposite. Those who said they had no idea totaled 26.1 percent.

Asked whether their own work styles have changed, 79.6 percent said no. Only 7.5 percent noted an improvement, while 12.9 percent reported deterioration.

Some respondents said they had changed their methods to improve their working efficiency, while others said taking work home had become more frequent.

The survey found that 37.9 percent were not satisfied with the work reform measures under the legislation at all, against 6.1 percent who were satisfied including those who were very satisfied.

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