Paid Vacation Days (Nenkyu 年休)
Ken-ALTs are entitled to 12 days of paid leave per contractual year. Nenkyu will be taken for any absence from regular working days. (With the exception of the other types of leave described below.) Nenkyu can be taken in hourly, half-day, and whole-day units. Public holidays, national holidays, and weekends are exempt from nenkyu. Please be considerate when requesting nenkyu and give your school ample notice of your plans. One month notice is required by the Kencho for most domestic and international trips. Nenkyu can be carried over if you plan on staying for more than one year. The carry over is only up to 24 days.
Paid Sick Leave (Byoukyuu 病休)
You are entitled to 30 days of paid sick leave per contractual year. When ‘calling in' sick, please make sure to stay home or tell your school that you are going to the hospital. If you are not at the hospital, you are expected to be at home. Some common terms that you may use when calling your school include:
"Kaze o hikimashita." (I've caught a cold.)
"Byoki ga arimasu." (I'm feeling very ill.)
"Karada no choshi ga warui." (I'm not feeling well.)
Your school may or may not find these reasons valid for missing school, so it is important that you communicate with your supervisor directly. At some schools, a sick day might be considered a vacation day, so please check that your school marks your attendance record with the correct “sick leave”(病休) not nenkyu (年休) stamp. Also, abuse of sick days can lead to disastrous consequences, so use them responsibly. Some schools might even require a doctor's note for your absence, especially for illnesses which last longer than 3 days.
Special Leave (Tokubetsu Kyuka 特別休暇 in short Tokyuu 特休)
Your own marriage is allotted 10 consecutive paid days of leave; weekends are considered part of these 10 days. In cases of other marriages, including family members' weddings, you will not receive these days.
The death of parent, spouse, or child is allotted 10 consecutive days of paid leave while the death of a sibling is allotted 5 consecutive days of leave.
When traveling internationally, you will be allotted four travel days by your school. The four days have to be taken in one trip only. Usually, it will be 2 days to arrive at your destination and 2 days to return to Japan. Travel days are in addition to nenkyu. Travel days are the first and last days of your trip, regardless of whether or not they are holidays, weekends, etc. Travel days will only be allowed once during your contract year, they CAN NOT be divided among different trips and they do not carry over to the next contract year if you don't use them.
There are a spattering of holidays throughout the year so check your JET diary when they will be. Winter break (Dec. 29 - Jan. 3) is a holiday stipulated in the JET contract. Each year, there will a number of other school holidays (Spring, Summer, Fall Break). You may be required to work during these times, and therefore would have to take nenkyu if you would like to have time off. Please, don't assume anything and check with your school or contracting organization if you are uncertain.