Sick Leave and COVID-19

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These days when you are feeling sick, you are strongly recommended to take a day off from work. Then will you be paid for such sick-off days?

In principle, you are not paid for your day off due to sickness unless the company provides paid sick leave (病気休暇) in its work rule. So look into your company’s work rules. When your company has paid sick leave, you can use it.

If your company does not have it, you can consider using your annual paid leave (有給休暇). Under law (Labor Standards Act), a company has to give at least 10 days of paid leave annually for non-fixed-term, full-time employees who are employed for more than 6 consecutive months and has more than 80% attendance rate of all working days. You can use such paid leave if you have not consumed it already upon notifying so before taking day off.

You cannot use leave allowance (休業手当) stipulated under law since leave allowance is given when there is any reason attributable to the company. That means the day off is due to the fault of the company. When the company decides to take days off or shorten work hours for full employees due to stay-at-home order, then you can demand leave allowance under certain conditions, but if you take a day off because of your sickness, you cannot demand leave allowance.

But you can still consider requesting injury and illness allowance (傷病手当), if you have health insurance, take days off for more than 3 days and meet certain conditions under your health insurance.

If you can prove that your sickness is caused by your work (for example, if you are a doctor or nurse and you are infected from a patient in your workplace), then you may be able to claim for benefits under workplace accident compensation insurance (労災保険).

If the company demands you to stay away from work even though you are fully recovered from the illness and have such medical certificate, then you should demand compensation against the company for staying away from work.

Even if you are a fixed-term or part-time employee, you may be entitled to paid leave and injury and illness allowance under certain conditions.

If you have any questions about labor issues in Japan, call 03-6459-3502 or send email to have legal consultation.