Japan May Give Workers Monday Morning Off To Reduce Overwork

“Monday morning” has earned the reputation of being many employees’ worst part of the week as it marks the end of the two days of complete freedom and the start of a new week of hard work.  

In Japan, employees may soon be partly spared of the dread of having to come to work early Mondays as the Japanese government is planning to give everyone the Monday morning off after every last Friday of the month.

The initiative, which is being called “Shining Monday,” is the brainchild of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry to minimize the effects of Japan’s culture of overwork.

According to Soranews24, the idea is a spin-off of an earlier program of the government called “Premium Friday,” which involves companies allowing employees to leave early on the last Friday of the month to help improve the workers’ work/life balance.

The program, which was launched last year, was also seen as a way to improve the economy by providing more time for the busy professionals so they can spend the money that they earn.

Unfortunately, the target benefits of Premium Friday were not fully achieved since the end of the month is usually a very busy time in offices in Japan. With monthly accounts being tallied and closed, a very limited number of workers were able to actually clock out early on the last Friday of the month. Those who did would also have to leave projects unfinished over the weekend.

Now, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has come up with an alternative that would allow employees to have the morning off on the Monday following the last Friday of the month.

According to the ministry, the first test run for the concept has proven to be a success. The ministry’s operations reportedly ran smoothly even after allowing 30% of its staff skipping the Monday morning of July 27. It was not revealed when the new program will be implemented. 

Aside from Premium Friday and Shining Monday, the Japanese government is pushing other efforts in its bid to improve employees’ quality of life.

Back in June, Japanese legislators introduced a new labor reform law which includes setting a legal cap on overtime as one of its pillars.

The new legislation limits overtime work to less than 100 hours per month and 720 per year. Should companies exceed the limits prescribed by the law, they will be punished, according to Japan Times.

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