Taking Sick Leave As An ALT…….

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Just had one of those awkward 年休 (annual leave) vs 病休 (sick leave) discussions on the phone with my OTE (Japanese Teacher of English).

(All in Japanese – Which I am terrible at)
Daniel: Sorry Sensei, today I must go to the hospital, I might need an X-Ray.
Sensei: Oh I see that is too bad, you can take nenkyuu 年休 (annual leave).
Daniel: Is byoukyu 病休 (sick leave) OK?
Sensei: {Hestitantly} Hmmmmmm maybe…….. Please get better you must teach tomorrow morning.

Taking byoukyuu (sick leave) is something akin to taboo in the Japanese workplace, the Japanese only take it if they are on their death bed…… instead they take their nenkyuu 年休 (annual leave) or more often than not just come to school sick and ganbarre 頑張れ it out (A Japanese phrase meaning to persevere through hardships). The main reason for this is that the cultural understandings of sick leave differ here in Japan.

However in addition to this Japanese tend to be keen to burn through their annual leave as opposed to sick leave since they don’t use their annual leave anyway!!
I guess this is because the in the Japanese mindset people dont take things just because they are entitled to them, a good example of this is the concept of a nomihoudai 飲み放題 (all you can drink) place can charge 1500-2000円 (about 18-24$) for 2hours all you can drink. Japanese rarely go crazy (not that they can drink all that much anyway) at such places where as us gaijin loose our shit and get wasted!

Back on topic in addition to this Japanese teachers GET HUGE BONUSES twice a year, the amount of which is directly related how many days of sick leave they have used, ALTs get no such free wads of cash…….. so why should we use up our precious annual leave when were sick, caz yano thats what sick leave is for!!!!

Rant Over

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