If you plan on staying for the long term in Japan, sadly, there’s a chance that you will have to say your last goodbyes to a loved one living overseas at some point. That’s when it will be really important to know how and when you can take bereavement leave that may or may not be included in your annual leave in Japan.
When you factor in time difference, distance, daily life struggles of being in a foreign country and the death of a loved one, the physical and mental toll can be all too unbearable. At times like that, you might struggle to think of what your next steps may be. If you are facing aging parents or family that are in ill health, it will be far better for your own peace of mind and sense of security if you find out where you stand in terms of bereavement leave sooner rather than when you get that call.
Your right to bereavement leave in Japan
According to Japan’s labor laws, employers must provide kibiki kyuka (忌引休暇) or “condolence leave” to full-time employees. If you are not working full time, as in you’re on a short-term contract, working part-time, as a dispatch, or essentially not a seishain (正社員, full time employee), technically your company does not have to provide you with any leave at all.
But if you’re a full-time employee of a company based in Japan, you will be granted a certain number of days for bereavement leave based on your relationship to the deceased.
For a spouse, child, or parent, you are typically granted up to five days leave. For a grandparent, sibling, or grandchild, three days. And for any other third-degree relative (for example, an aunt, uncle, cousins, etc), you may have up to two days. For anyone not related to you (such as a family friend or even a pet), your company is not required to give you any leave whatsoever. In this case, you can use your paid or non-paid vacation to take a day or two off.
What to do when the leave is not enough
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