What is "Yukyu"（有給）? How many can I get in Japan?
What is "Yukyu"（有給）?
In Japan, paid leave is known as "yukyu（有給）" which translates to "paid vacation" or "paid time off." It is a legally mandated benefit for all employees who have worked for their company for at least six months.
Yukyu（有給） is an important part of Japan's labor laws, as it is designed to promote a healthy work-life balance and reduce the risk of overworking or burnout. By providing employees with paid time off, employers can encourage them to take breaks and rest, which can ultimately lead to improved productivity and job satisfaction.
"Yukyu"（有給）in Japanese means 100% paid day off.
給 means "salary" and 有 means "eligible". So it means vacation which is still eligible to get salary.
Even if you take a day off, your salary will NOT be reduced on that day. In Japan, employees are entitled to take "Yukyu" （有給）under the Labor Standards Law.
The amount of Yukyu（有給）
The amount of yukyu an employee is entitled to depends on their length of service with the company. According to Japan's Labor Standards Act, employees who have worked for a company for at least six months are entitled to a minimum of 10 days of paid leave per year.
Paid day off: If they have been working for more than half a year since they were hired and have worked more than 80% of all working days, the number of days granted is 10 days.
年次有給休暇とはどのような制度ですか。パートタイム労働者でも有給があると聞きましたが、本当ですか。｜厚生労働省 (mhlw.go.jp)Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan
Here is guideline in English of Labour Standards Department Osaka Labour Bureau
Especially in recent years, Japan legally requires employees to take at least five days of paid leave per year. Employers will be punished if employees do not take leave. Employers will also want their employees to spend their vacation.
Employers can offer more yukyu than the minimum required by law, but they are not allowed to offer less. It is also important to note that yukyu is not cumulative, meaning that unused days do not carry over to the next year. This encourages employees to take time off and prevents them from accumulating large amounts of unused leave.
Taking yukyu is considered a normal part of working life in Japan, and it is generally expected that employees will take their full allocation of paid leave each year. In fact, some employers may even encourage their employees to take time off, as they recognize the benefits of having a rested and refreshed workforce.
Need to give notice to supervisor before taking Yukyu"有給"
To take yukyu, employees typically need to submit a request to their employer at least a few days in advance. Employers are generally required to approve these requests, unless there are exceptional circumstances that make it impossible for the employee to take time off at that particular time.
It is your right to take a day-off but you need to give notice and get approval from your supervisor beforehand.
Do not worry!
In most cases, applying for a vacation is unlikely to be rejected by your supervisor in Japan.
In other words, the rules for granting vacations do not allow your boss to refuse to take vacations without very reasonable reason (時季変更権）.
Interference of normal operation of the business
To reject your application for vacation, very reasonable reason such as "interference of normal operation of the business" （事業の正常な運営）is needed.
The factors that are judged to "interference of normal operation of the business" are as follows.
-Business scale and business content itself時季変更権とは？行使するための条件や注意点を徹底解説 | jinjerBlog (hcm-jinjer.com)
-Job description and job characteristics of employees who applied for paid leave
-Difficulty in allocating alternative personnel
-Many employees take a day of on same season
How many Yukyu"有給" can I take?
The rate of paid leave taken by workers in Japan has been 45-50% since 60% in 2015, but in 2021, it was taken 12 days out of 20 days of paid leave, and it became 60% again.
Anyway, Japanese government pushed companies for employee to take Yukyu"有給" more and more. Moreover, it is right to take all Yukyu days in Japan.
Do not worry and take a vacation in Japan!
Japanese Labor Law Q&A with a Japanese Sharoushi - YouTube
In conclusion, yukyu is an important benefit for employees in Japan, designed to promote work-life balance and reduce the risk of overworking. It is a legally mandated benefit, and employees are entitled to a minimum of 10 days of paid leave per year. Employers can offer more yukyu, but not less, and unused days do not carry over to the next year. Taking yukyu is considered a normal part of working life in Japan, and employees are generally expected to take their full allocation of paid leave each year.