How to Ask for Time Off in Japanese

Source: Gaijin Pot
How to Apply for Time Off in Japanese

With the sad disappearance of Silver Week workers in Japan won’t be getting much of a break this September. While those people that weren’t happy about the length of this year’s Golden Week can feel good about it, for the rest of us, the fact that we only get two Mondays off in a row—on September 16 and September 23—is a bummer.

Still, if you want to make a long weekend of it, requesting the Friday before (the Monday) off could be a good way to squeeze out some more rest time before the end of the Japanese summer.

So what’s the best way to ask for some vacation at work? Here are a few phrases to help.

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50 Shades of Time Off

When you need to take some time off work, you will first need to know what type of time off you need. Japanese has a surprising number of different words for different types of time off, including:

  • 年休ねんきゅう) = annual leave (you’ll hear this a lot if you’re working as an ALT or language teacher)
  • 有休(ゆうきゅう) = a holiday with pay (the standard way to refer to paid leave)
  • 振替休日(ふりかえきゅうじつ) = a holiday given to compensate for working outside one’s hours, also 代休だいきゅう) is used
  • 病休びょうきゅう) = sick leave (see here for a guide to taking sick leave as an ALT)

Begin politely

When you want to get time off work, you will need to use your polite Japanese.

First of all, you will need to find a polite way to start your request. Luckily Japanese has a huge number of these. Two very useful ones are ちょっとすみません (Excuse me) and ちょっとお聞(き)きしたいんですが (I would like to ask something).

One of the easiest ways to ask for time off is to use the verb いただく …continue reading