Why hello there! Today I want to talk about taking time off work in Japan, and this is something I’ve found to be a little bit different from my home country, New Zealand. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people coming from Western countries will find it a little bit different as well, and of course it’s something that important for you to understand if you want to travel or go back to your home country, or whatever you want to do.
So today I’m going to talk about the different ways you can take time off, and the steps for each one.
So let’s get started! First things first there are four different types of common leave in the Japanese workplace, and they are nen ky uu, daikyu, B Youk Yuu, and Tok Yuu.
So I’m going to lump B Youk Yuu and Tok kyu together for this video, because I feel like they’re similar enough to talk about at the same time, but apart from that I’m going to speak of each of the three categories separately, because they’re all completely different, and they all require different steps to take each type of leave.
So I’m going to talk about each one at a time, starting with nen ky uu.
The first one is nen ky uu and that is your basic vacation time.
I think it’s pretty standard to get twenty days of nen ky uu per year, and that’s what I get, and the most important thing, I think, to know about nen ky uu is that it does roll over if you don’t use all of your twenty days in one year.
So say you have five days that you didn’t the previous year, you’ll get twenty-five days the next year, so this is super important to remember so that you don’t end up wasting nen ky uu days.
Okay, apart from that, on paper it says that you can take nen ky uu whenever you like, but that’s not the case.
Uh, your workplace can deny you nen ky uu, and.
Uhm, ideally you should only take nen ky uu when you don’t have responsibilities at work, so say during summer vacation, if you don’t get summer vacation off, if you don’t have classes, you can take nen ky uu all during that period.
However, of course sometimes this can’t be the case, and you’ll have to try and take nen ky uu when you do have things to do at work.
The most important thing to do in this case is to get in early.
Make sure that you know as soon as possible which days you’ll be taking off, and make it your priority to go and let the people that that will affect know.
So, anyone that you’re working on that day, you need to go and talk to them, make sure that they can handle everything without you, and just let them know that you won’t be able to make it in on that day for whatever reason.
Once you’ve done that you can fill out your nen Yuu form and go to whoever is in charge of that – for me it’s my vice-principal – and say that you have already spoken to everyone that this affects and just get them to sign off on your nen ky uu days.
But I cannot stress enough how important it is to let people know as soon as you can if it’s going to affect their day.
So just think about it in terms of being like a decent person – you would want to know if your day was going to be changed because of someone else taking a day off, and it’s nice to give your coworkers the same courtesy, and it’s also really important so that you don’t get those days denied, just to smooth things over in the office.
So yeah, nen ky uu is pretty basic, that is pretty much all there is to know about it.
The only other thing to know is that some workplaces – I’m talking specifically about schools here, because that’s all I know about- um, some schools will offer teachers summer or winter vacation days that are not nen kyu that you can just take off, but some places won’t, so you need to check your contract really carefully for that kind of thing.
My school doesn’t, so if I want to take time off, even in summer holidays I have to go to work every day unless I’ve filled outa nen ky uu form for those days.
So check your contract for any vacation times that isn’t nen ky uu, if not you’ll have to use nen ky uu.
But yeah, that’s pretty much it for nenkyuuI think.
Let’s talk about daikyu next.
Daikyuu is days in lieu.
So if you work on a day that you Wouldnt normally work, so for teachers that are a public holiday or a weekend, then you will get a day off in exchange for that at some point in the future.
The most important thing to know about daikyu unis that most places require that you take your day in exchange within three months of the day that you worked that you shouldn’t have been working – if that makes sense.
Um, a super common cause for Daikyu is OpenCampus at your school – so open campus will happen on the weekend, usually a Saturday (Mine is actually tomorrow), and the entire school will get another day off in exchange for that day.
In this case, you don’t get to choose the day because of course, the whole school gets a day of Daikyu, and so it would be really difficult to coordinate everyone getting a different day off, so the school just decides designates a day that everyone gets off in lieu of the Open Campus day.
Apart from that, you might work some ALT or, like.
I don’t know, some English events, like speech contests and things like that, that are held on weekends, and for those, you will be able to choose a day within three months.
Again, with daikyu the same as nen ky uu, you need to let people know if you have responsibilities that day.
Ideally, of course, take it when you don’t, but if you do, let people know as soon as possible and make sure that it’s all okay.
So yeah, Daikyu is pretty simple – it’s just a day in exchange for working a day that you normally wouldn’t.
So I said there were three types and me named four, and now I’m going to talk about B Youk Yuu and Tokyu together, because they are much more similar than the other types, and I think that they can be classified together.
So B Youk Yuu is sick leave in Japan, and this is probably the one that’s the most different from New Zealand.
I’m not sure about other countries, though I have heard other Westerners say similar things to New Zealand, so I think you will find it quite different as well if you’re a Western foreigner coming to Japan.
So, in New Zealand you are sick, and you need to take some time off work, so you call your boss, and you say “I’m so sorry, I’m sick, I can’t make it in today,” and they sort it out for you.
In Japan, if you are sick and you want to take time off, you must get a note from a doctor or hospital saying exactly how many days off you need and exactly why you need those days.
Usually the maximum for this – or for like a cold or flu type thing – is three days off, but of course, if you’re sicker you can get more time off.
So it does not matter how sick you are, you are getting yourself out of bed, and you are going to that doctor to get that note.
Some places are more or less strict about this – I’ve heard some place accept, like, prescription medication receipts instead of the note, but for my schools, they will only accept that signed, sealed letter from the doctor.
So this is something that you need to bear in mind.
Now there is quite a stigma, I’ve found, against taking sick leave in the Japanese workplace, I think that has a lot to do with the incredibly hardworking culture here, but I would encourage you not to buy into this.
So the stigma is that you should use your nen Yuu or your vacation days when you’re sick instead of sick leave, and I think that’s just ridiculous, I think there is no need for that.
Please please please if you are sick, if you can take sick leave and get that doctor’s note, please do, it’s not your responsibility to use your vacation days for the sick time at all.
Please don’t buy into that.
Um, and the other thing that I mentioned in this segment was Tokyu, which is special leave.
Now special holiday is vague; I haven’t learned much about it.
From what I know it’s for bereavement or loss, so if a family member or spouse dies, you can take some Tokyu, some time off.
I think there’re other reasons for it as well, but I’m not sure.
But absolutely if something happens, and you need to take some time off and go back to your home country or whatever, look into that.
You do not have to take nen ky uu for that; there are things set up so you can do that without using nen ky uu.
So just bear that in mind, if you need it, which I hope you don’t, of course.
So hopefully you won’t need to use byo kyu or Tokyu too much.
If you do, please please take advantage of them, you do not have to use nen ky uu for this kind of thing, and please don’t be pressured into using it if you don’t need to.
So yeah, those are some important things to know about sick leave and special leave.
So that is it for the three common types of work leave that I know of in Japan, there are other kinds but hopefully, you won’t need to use them or know about them too much, and I don’t know about them myself, so I’m not going to talk about them here.
I hope that this was helpful.