Tokyo: The Japanese government wants to make it obligatory for its citizens to take at least five days of paid vacation a year to reduce their workload and avoid possible physical and mental health problems, media reported Thursday.
According to a survey by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare -- which will present the relevant bill in the current session of parliament, Japanese citizens on average used less than half of the 18.5 days of paid leave which they are entitled to every year.
In 2013, workers spent less than half of their vacation days -- or around 48.8 percent.
With the new law, the government wants people to take at least 70 percent of their paid holidays in 2020, according to the newspaper Yomiuri.
Employees do not utilise their vacations mostly because they are loaded with extra work, according to a study by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training.
Japanese legislation determines the number of paid leaves according to the length of employment at the company.
Employees who have been working at least six months in a company have the right to 10 days of paid vacation a year, while those who have worked for at least six-and-a-half years are entitled to 20 days.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare intends to allow the workers to choose when they want to enjoy those five days of paid vacation and make the breach of that rule punishable, but the measure excludes those who do not have the right to at least 10 days of annual leave and some temporary workers.