Is it legal to have employees work 7 days per week during busy times and then give them replacement holidays later?

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Japanese labor law generally requires that employees receive at least one holiday per week. However, this is not always practical in some industries. Some jobs require employees to work continuously during a busy season to take advantage of favorable economic or consumer conditions. For example, real estate companies often find themselves busiest during the spring when people graduate, get a job and move into a new apartment. Likewise, many food related industries are busiest during harvest season and have much slower business in the winter.

To accommodate these businesses, the Labor Standards Act allows for the alternative schedule of 4 holidays over the course of a four week period. This allows businesses to adjust their work schedule to fit the most efficient use of employee’s time. In some cases this may mean having employees work 7 days per week for several weeks in a row and then giving them a longer holiday at the end of the month.

If you have any questions about working condition laws in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.