Three-day weekend every week? Yes please!!

Back in 2019, Microsoft Japan’s three-day weekend experiment showed great improvements in worker productivity, with reports claiming the workers got 40 percent more work done. The rest of the country waited with bated breath — would this mean the rest of Japan would follow suit, and give the country’s overworked employees more flexible work schedules?

Sadly, not much has changed, as shown by one government office recently making the news when it disciplined workers for routinely going home a couple of minutes early. The glorious promise of three-day weekends very week once again seemed like a distant dream, but now there’s a new glimmer of hope. 

At a press conference on April 5th, Liberal Democratic Party politician and Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said he’d like to “examine what the government can do” about implementing a potential “voluntary three-day holiday“, where full-time permanent employees can choose a schedule where they have three days a week off instead of two.

▼ “Sorry, sir. I’m taking today off!”

At the press conference, Kato talked about the increasing need for a healthy work-life balance. By implementing a voluntary three-day holiday each week, employees would struggle less due to issues such as lack of adequate childcare for their children, caring for elderly relatives or battling illnesses. As a result, people would be more likely to stay at their jobs for longer. A voluntary three-day holiday could allow people to travel more, in turn helping boost Japan’s tourism industry, which has been hit hard due to the coronavirus.

On the other hand, some have expressed concern over the potential decrease in wages that a three-day holiday could bring. Similarly, some companies may decide to increase working hours on non-holidays to balance for working hours lost during the extra holiday. Should the three-day holiday system be implemented nationwide, new labor laws may need to be created.

The Liberal Democratic Party has already begun discussions on the three-day holiday idea in the ‘Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens‘ department, and is expected to submit proposals after consulting with experts. Naturally, Japanese netizens have started discussions of their own.

“Sure, anyone can say ‘we’re thinking about it’… I’ll reserve judgement until it actually happens.”
“At my company, we only have one day off a week.”
“How about a ‘seven-day weekend’? Oh wait, that’s called ‘retirement’.”
“Not sure how small business would manage this.”
“It’d be nice if we got more time off but our salaries remained the same.”
“If we get three days off a week, I bet the working days will end up being more than ten hours long to make up for it.”

Such a skeptical outlook on the proposal isn’t particularly surprising; after all, this isn’t the first time the Japanese government have considered giving overworked Japanese citizens more time off, only to fizzle out into nothing. Fingers crossed this time is different, cause goodness knows we all need something to keep us motivated!

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Livedoor News via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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