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Japan to make 104-day annual leave mandatory for skilled workers

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan is seen obliging companies to give annual leave of at least 104 days to skilled professionals under an envisaged system to scrap working hour limits for such highly paid employees, it was learned Tuesday.

The obligation will be included in a planned agreement among top leaders of the government, business community and labor side on how to modify a bill to revise the labor standards law, according to a draft agreement.

The government will address concerns that have been expressed by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, about the possibility of the white collar exemption system leading to long working hours, informed sources said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with Rengo President Rikio Kozu and Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara to reach the three-way agreement as early as July 19. Prior to that, Abe is seen receiving from Kozu a request for modifying the bill at a meeting expected for Thursday.

Earlier this year, Rengo suggested that it may tolerate the proposed system if the government makes certain modifications to the bill.

As for measures to restrict long working hours for employees covered by the system, the current bill stipulates management and labor choose one from the three options — giving at least 104 days off per year, securing minimum intervals between the end and the beginning of work and set limits on working hours.

While making the 104-day annual leave mandatory, the modified bill will make management and labor choose between the options of giving two straight weeks of holidays and providing an additional health checkup, the sources said.

The government submitted the current bill to the Diet, Japan’s parliament, in April 2015. But debates on the bill have not started as the opposition side labeled the bill as legislation to scrap overtime pay.

The government hopes that support from Rengo, a major supporter of the main opposition Democratic Party, would make it easier for the Diet to start discussions on the bill, the sources said.Speech

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