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#5 Break Times in the Workplace

Basic Requirements

Under the Labor Standards Law (Article 34, Paragraph 1), employers are required to provide break times during work hours as follows:

For work exceeding 6 hours, a minimum of 45 minutes. For work exceeding 8 hours, at least 1 hour.

Uniform Break Times

Generally, break times should be provided simultaneously to all workers (excluding certain industries like retail, hospitality, and entertainment). This principle applies even under flexible working hours systems or the variable working hours system (Article 34, Paragraph 2).

However, an exemption from this simultaneous break requirement can be arranged through a labor-management agreement. This agreement must specify the scope of workers exempted from simultaneous breaks and the manner in which their breaks will be provided (Ordinance for Enforcement of the Labor Standards Act (労働基準法施行規則; Rōdō kijun hō shikōkisoku, Article 15, Paragraph 1).

Freedom During Breaks

Employers must allow workers the freedom to utilize their break times as they wish (Article 34, Paragraph 3). This ensures that employees have the autonomy to rest or engage in personal activities, free from work obligations during these intervals.


If you are considering expanding your business to Japan, please contact Quantum Accounting Inc. for a free consultation during the planning phase or general consultation (available in both English and Japanese). Quantum Accounting's professionals are experts in accounting, tax, legal, and labor issues. Our goal is to provide you with a one-stop professional firm for all the services you need to expand your business into Japan. We are confident that we can help you.

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