Taking paid holidays in Japan

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A survey from the internet service provider (with a sideline in surveys) Biglobe into paid holidays revealed the sorry state of paid holiday usage in Japan.

As an employee of a company with proactive holiday-taking initiatives, such as three 10-day holidays per year, a recommendation to take two paid holidays per month (with follow-up if you fall too far behind), and a requirement to take a minimum of 80% of our 25 or so holidays (plus publics) each year with a recommendation to take all 100%, it still is difficult to take more than two consecutive days of personal holidays. Conversely, it is ridiculously easy to take a skive or a man-flu day, which I feel is more of a disruption than a planned week holiday.

At my place of work, I feel the main hindrance to taking holidays is little skill or training in delegation of tasks, plus schedules (if they exist) assume 100% attendance; everyone thinks they are far too important to leave their post for more than a day or two.

Research results

Q1: Why are holidays impossible/difficult to take (or why don’t you take holidays) at work? (Sample size=1,000 multiple answer)

Work is not the sort of place where one takes holidays
33.6%
If I take a holiday my co-workers will have to take my tasks on
22.9%
Co-workers, boss doesn’t take holidays
22.3%
I cannot control my own workload
21.1%
Something might arise that I need to respond to
18.1%
If I take a holiday I have to make it up via overtime later
17.1%
I’d feel guilty if I did
13.1%
I just don’t feel sure I have the courage to ask
11.5%
Too much bother to apply for time off
10.3%
Cannot get permission from my boss
8.7%
My evaluation would suffer
8.5%
Don’t want to take a holiday
8.0%
Other
2.0%

By age groups, significant variants were that those in their twenties were more held back by their colleagues and bosses not taking holidays, whereas the fifties were most likely to just not want to take a holiday.

Comparing management level with ordinary employees, managers were most worried about something cropping up while on holiday, whereas ordinary employees were most held back by the office atmosphere discouraging holidays.

Q2: How do you feel when your boss, underlings, co-workers take a holiday? (Sample size=1,000, multiple answer)

If they are taking a holiday, they ought to take more
35%
I want to take one too
32%
Don’t particularly feel anything
30%
Envious
24%
They must be slacking
12%
Annoyed
4%
Angry
3%
Worried
1%
Other
0%

Q3: What causes you to feel annoyed when your boss, underlings, co-workers take a holiday? (Sample size=1,000, multiple answer)

Don’t feel annoyed
50%
Taking holidays during busy period
24%
Taking holidays without delegating pending work
24%
When they get angry due to mistakes by other workers while they are on holiday
13%
When they take far more holidays than me
10%
When they don’t look apologetic
7%
When I see them enjoying themselves on Facebook
4%
Other
1%

Q4: What would you like to see the most regarding paid holidays? (Sample size=1,000)

Company buy-back of holidays
45.3%
Taking of all paid holidays
33.9%
Increase number of paid holidays
20.8%

Q5: Is your employer taking steps to make holidays easier to take? (Sample size=1,000)

Yes
25.6%
No
74.4%

Q6: To make holidays easier to take, should the employer’s system change or employee attitude change? (Sample size=1,000)

Employer should change
37.9%
Probably employer
28.7%
Probably employee
20.1%
Employee should change
13.3%

Q7: Regarding taking a holiday, do you think you should raise the quality of your work? (Sample size=1,000)

Yes
21.4%
Perhaps
43.0%
Perhaps not
26.6%
No
9.0%

Demographics

Over the 18th and 19th of July 2017 1,000 members of the Biglobe monitor group completed a private smrtphone-based questionnaire. The sex split was 125:125 in each age group of the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. I would expect that all the respondents were in full-time work, although this was not explicitly stated.

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