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Some companies try 4-day workweek to offer flexibility to employees

By Ayano Shimizu

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 allow employees to organize their work schedule flexibly, allowing them to take a four-day workweek, as long as they meet the necessary work hours per month.

So extra hours need to be worked on the other 4 days.

Panasonic said last month it will decide on the specifics about the salary of workers on a four-day workweek before its launch.

Or salary will be reduced.

Well done Japan, you don't get it at all.

9 ( +23 / -14 )

How about allowing the workers to take a holiday longer than 4 days and at times outside of Obon or Golden week!!?? That would go a very long way to giving Japanese employees a better life!

Most employees are already doing 50-60hours work weeks anyway if they drop a day they will most likely still meet their hourly requirements because of forced Overtime!

15 ( +20 / -5 )

Wow the Japanese will all be French within the decade

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Among companies that have accepted the optional four-day workweek, pharmaceutical firm Shionogi & Co began allowing workers to take a third day off in April in the hope that they will acquire new skills or develop a network of contacts through additional education or working a second job.

Third day off with the intent of increasing their skills. And why work a 2nd job, kind of defeats the purpose of giving the extra day off, unless the compensation you provide is insufficient for employees to live on.

The excuses, sorry REASONS given here are absolutely work related, and I will be strongly encouraged as well as one of the reasons for allowing an employee the 3rd day off.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Four 15-hour days…

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Furthermore, 60.1 percent of the 800 respondents said it was impossible to introduce a four-day week at their workplace. Their reasons varied from being understaffed or the workload being too great.

Which means that the businesses themselves are poorly managed and operated.

If you are understaffed or the workload is too great, it means you are under-paying employees, or are being mismanaged to the point that you are not long for this world.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

However, there are still doubts whether the new work style will gain popularity in Japan, where many companies only began offering two days off per week in the late 1980s.

Instead of trying to navigate a shift to a 4 day work week, why doesn't Japan Inc. start by accurately accounting for and compensating workers for the actual hours they are already compelled to work.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Tired of having little time for yourself for 5 days a week? Well how about you have no time for yourself at all for 4 days a week so you can spend another day making yourself more useful for us? Or we'll deduct it from your salary. Or both! No problem, it's just our way of saying thank you for dedicating most of your waking hours for the sake of our investors.

Now that's a pitch!

5 ( +17 / -12 )

This is surely a joke. So many companies here make their employees work public holidays and get neither overtime nor time off in lieu.

Add this the list of failures like Jisa Biz, Premium Fridays...

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Imagine the day when MOST people are exited and eager to go to work!!!!!!!

That will be a life worth working for, I see people including my self work as hard and as smart as we could but could never get the satisfaction or security. I don't know the answer but I do know that people in other parts of the world are NOT working as hard and living a much Simpler and Happier life.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

When you live and work in a society that worship money, don't expect an easy ride.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

I...I don't think the companies understand the purpose of a truncated work week. I mean it basically sounds like they're trying to squeeze 5 days worth of work into 4 days, which is kind of counterproductive as it means they'll be working even longer hours during these 4 work days. Either that or they'll dock the employee's wages.

This is all just lip service isn't it? They say they want to improve work-life balance but in reality nothing changes and people in Japan will continue to work themselves to the bone....just within 4 days instead of 5.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

How about giving people choices: work four days a week, 8 hrs a day but with reduced pay, or four days a week for the same pay provided they keep their fourty hrs per week.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I can just imagine... they'll offer a four-day work week so long as the regular hours + 100 hours of overtime per month are met by some means.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

What's that mean? Four 20-hour workdays now?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Take an extra day off and still receive the same salary ?

Oh this will help the economy and worker productivity for sure.

Getting rapidly dumber and lazier by the minute.

It's ok just get a second job.

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

A four days week only works of they originally had a five days week 8 hours a day. But if they already had a 12 - 13 hours a day from Monday to Friday (or to Saturday)...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Also even if some companies would actually implement a 4 day work week at 8h/day and 100% of the salary (which is not the case as pointed out in previous comments), parents would be in trouble as daycare is only granted to both parents working full time (meaning 5 days at 8 hours/day). So that means, rules for daycare should also be changed. Ideally school hours and days should also be adapted if the purpose is to spend more time with your kids...

Anyway, as some comments said above, let's have Japan first enforce the official working hours and holidays that employees are allowed to take before thinking about further improvement.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

 as long as they meet the necessary work hours per month.

They're not really getting this, are they

7 ( +10 / -3 )

This reminds me of Premium Friday and we all know how that worked out, don’t we?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I'd be impressed with this news if this were 1994.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Just pay people what they are worth. The average starting salary for new university graduates that started on April 1st is literally half of what they would be offered anywhere else.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Companies of all shapes and sizes have to measure and balance there business needs.


As rightfully pointed out, to squeeze the number of hours worked over five days into four is neither smart or practicable.

Flexible hours, working from home, child day care provision must be taken into consideration.

I would personally like to see, and have insisted from staff, caps to the number of hours worked over a period of five days. An example would be 37 hours. core time of 10.00 to 14.00 allocated to briefings.

One consideration is staff must take there full allocated holiday entitlement.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Eliminate “mandatory” golden week, obon and new year’s holidays and spread out vacation tim among employees for starters.

Have people take off during different times in the year. One person take off the start of May, another the ending of May.

Have weekend crew part timers and have people split weekends among co workers.

Some should take off Tuesday and Wednesday, others take off Thursdays and Fridays.

its not rocket science…….but apparently it is in japan……

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Shionogi, which has applied to the health ministry for approval for its COVID-19 drug, will give employees on a four-day workweek about 80 percent of their regular salary. 

This won't fly with most people/companies as the salaries are too low to begin with. Japan needs to increase salaries, but it looks like they are finding ways to decrease them instead.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Considering the already rock bottom pay japanese companies have, i doubt many employees can afford this. If you want wages remotely close to market rates then you should stay away from JP companies, they are more than willing to pay 20M positions at gaishi firms at only 4-6M

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Talking about salaries there is of course one consideration: are they receiving their bonuses or other benefits? When i started my first job in Japan as a shinsotsu at a Japanese company, my yearly salary was about 2.4M yen. But with the fixed bonuses and housing allowance, I was making more around 4M. Housing allowance was a pretty sweet deal too, only requiring me to pay 10.000 per month while the rest was covered by the company. It only required me to live in the company designated 独身寮. In the end, I did manage to save quite some money every month. That being said, I still prefer gaishi companies as they offer more competitive salaries even though there usually isn't any housing allowance AFAIK.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Like Security jobs in the West, 4 On 4 Off is the best working schedule, with 28 days holiday pay and double pay on public holiday plus festival bonus.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

and how much time does the body need to recover from 4 straight days of working? I'm sorry but this is entirely missing the point and quite offensive that these companies would tote this as progressive at all.

sounds like a faster way to burn out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan’s major trade competitors will not forever put up with the deceit, the kind of lip service ‘we’re just like you’ tokenism on display here, which is merely designed to forestall the inevitable embrace of reciprocity in labour standards. Work/life balance here will only become a reality for most when those countries that are now getting shafted on trade bite the bullet and put Japan on notice that the free ride is over.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Eliminate “mandatory” golden week, obon and new year’s holidays and spread out vacation tim among employees for starters.

Have people take off during different times in the year. One person take off the start of May, another the ending of May.

Have weekend crew part timers and have people split weekends among co workers.

Some should take off Tuesday and Wednesday, others take off Thursdays and Fridays.

All of this. Well said. The concept of Golden Week is honestly quite absurd - who wants to take holidays the same time as everyone else? It's not very relaxing or fun if all the places are jam-packed with crowds and prices for things are through the roof.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This plan is otsukare.

take less money or hope your staff make contacts while working a second job. Who are these people? Why don’t you just have 3 days a week 12 hours a day. Because I currently do 4 x 12 hour days a week and 1 x 10 hour a week now.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Golden Week is what it is!! GOLD, even though the entire country takes time off business those that are in control continue lining their pocket. Its like XMAS holidays more money is made during the months of November and December in the US or any other country that celebrates it than the other 10 months combined. Now think about what Golden Week and Obon does for large companies in Japan. In order for a 4 day work week to work I would think the "MIND SET" of the people would have to change. It's culturally ingrained where some people feel they have to work, even if they have a day off.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Lorem ipsum 4M is nothing to write home about. If you have a degree, it is shockingly low.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

4M is nothing to write home about. If you have a degree, it is shockingly low.

The average starting salary in Japan for a university graduate is around 23K, add in 4 months for bonus and you're looking at 3.68 million, so 4 million is a bit up on that. Nothing to write home about, being the average, but it's not shockingly low, either.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Never ever!

normal Japanese employer and employee feels guilty when working 4 days. It will stay that way at least until 2100. Maybe then there is a chance to change the mindset and they would think that work and business is not your life, but only maybe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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