Why Japanese employees can’t take a day off?

Travel Website Expedia Japan has surveyed about 15,000 people from 30 different countries about paid vacation.  The least used annual paid vacation are Japanese employees’. The rate is 50%. Brazil, France, Spain, Australia and Hong Kong employees take 100% of their paid vacation. Singapore is 93%, Mexico is 86%, The U.S. is 80%, Italy is 75%, India is 75% and South Korea is 67%. Japanese people tend to feel guilty of taking any days off. 63% of people who were surveyed, feel guilty. For Japanese employees, feeling guilty was the highest rate in the survey.  The lowest rate is 18%, Spain.

Reason #1: For Japanese employees not using their paid vacation days, is to keep some available paid vacation days for when they become sick. Japanese companies don’t have sick leave days, so Japanese employees have to use paid vacation when they are sick.

Reason #2: There are not enough employees in the companies. Employees feel guilty about taking days off when their co-workers are busy.

Reason #3: Other employees don’t take days off.

Japanese people are educated not to stand out and be considerate of other people. If other people do not take days off, it’s hard for anyone else to take off. (Expedia Japan.2017).

Japanese people commented online about the survey

“People just give up, because people feel guilty.”
“I can never imagine that many people can take 10 days paid vacation…(because it’s impossible at that person’s company) ”
“Even though we request a day off, it’s never approved. That’s it. ”
“My boss says “take a day off”, then if I take day off, my coworkers (including my boss) look me like you’re really going to take a day off!?”
“I don’t care about what other people think, but I just can’t take a day off because my company is too busy. There are not enough employees.”
“Let’s end this era of thinking that it is “beautiful for people to work so hard without day off.”

The rate of birth in Japan is very low. Lack of workers will be more of a serious problem. Will AI or Robots change this situation??

(The Expedia Japan’s article https://welove.expedia.co.jp/press/31575/)

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