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hire in Japan

Japan PEO &
Employer of Record



PAYROLL TAX 14.98% – 24.43%


TIME TO HIRE 24 hours

Hire and pay talents
with Horizons in
180+ countries

Simple, compliant hiring with Horizons PEO

PEO in Japan

Horizons ensures day-to-day guidance to help your business navigate Japan’s labor laws and regulations. We also provide mandatory monthly payroll requirements, and absorb all local employment liabilities. Partnering with our Japan PEO is the quickest and most cost-effective way to enter the Japan market. 

Facts & Stats

PEO Platform Hire in Japan, and pay employees through our platform or app. PEO Cost Our Japan PEO solution is the most affordable on the market. Time-to-hire Fast onboarding in Japan, hire in as little as 24 hours.
Contracts We draft labor contracts compliant with Japanese labor law. Local Benefits We administer all mandatory benefits and contributions in Japan. 180+ Countries It doesn’t stop with Japan — we are an international PEO
stay compliant with Japan labor laws

Employment Laws

Japan employment contract types

Whilst Japanese laws do not specify an exact format for employment contracts, employers should draft written contracts for all work arrangements. Contracts should provide employees with the terms and conditions relevant to their job role. Employers can fulfill these requirements by giving employees a written employment contract and/or a copy of the company’s ‘work rules’ (shuugyou kisoku). 

All employees engaged through Horizons’ Japan PEO are onboarded with a locally compliant employment contract.

In Japan, it is best practice for employers to draft a written employment contract that clearly states employment terms. This should include the employee’s compensation, benefits, responsibilities, and rules around termination. Any letter of offer or employment contract should state the compensation and benefits in Japanese Yen, rather than a foreign currency. 

Probationary period

3 – 6 months (standard)

Termination notice period

0 – 14 days of employment: none

14+ days of employment: 30 days

Must be justified by a reason in the employment agreement.

SeveranceOnly in cases where employee is dismissed without reason: 2 months’ salary per year of service, up to maximum 12 months
Probationary period

3 – 6 months (standard)

Recommended: Using a fixed-term contract as a probationary period ‘Shokai Yotei Haken

Termination notice period

0 – 14 days of employment: none

14+ days of employment: 30 days

Must be justified by a reason in the employment agreement.

SeveranceOnly in cases where employee is dismissed without reason: 2 months’ salary per year of service, up to maximum 12 months

Working hours in Japan

In Japan, a standard work week runs from Monday to Friday. Each day is generally eight hours, for a total weekly limit of 40 hours. For a full-time employee, these would be normal hours, unless otherwise agreed with a union or local employee representative. Work agreements must clearly set out the maximum hours of applicable overtime.

Minimum overtime rates are as follows:

  • The standard overtime rate is 125% of an hourly wage
  • For work on a designated rest day, the overtime rate is 135% of an hourly wage
  • For late night overtime – between the hours of 10pm and 5am – the overtime rate is 150% of the hourly wage
  • For late night overtime that is conducted on a rest day, the overtime rate is 160% of the hourly wage
  • For any overtime work that exceeds 60 hours per month, the overtime rate is 150% of the hourly wage
  • For late night overtime that exceeds 60 hours per month, the overtime rate is 175% of the hourly wage

Small and medium sized companies are exempt from the final two overtime rates above. Additionally, employees that hold positions of management or supervision are typically exempt from such overtime rates. 

Note that, in addition to these pay requirements for overtime, there are strict limits on the amount of overtime allowed. As of 2019 (larger employers), and 2020 (small businesses), the ‘basic limit rule’ is 45 overtime hours per month, or 360 hours per year. 

There is also an ‘extended limit rule’ which provides that in special circumstances (such as unexpected orders), the basic limit rule can be breached. However, in that case there is still a limit of 100 hours per month, with a maximum if 720 hours per year.

Hire compliantly in Japan without a local entity.

Quick, compliant hiring in 24 hours—no subsidiary required.

Holidays in Japan

Aside from New Year’s Day, if a holiday occurs on a Sunday, the following Monday is recognized as a public holiday. Whilst it is not a legal requirement for salaried employees of foreign companies to be given the day off on public holidays, most employers will do so:
Date Holiday name
1 Jan Sunday New Year’s Day
2 Jan Monday Day off for New Year’s Day
9 Jan Monday Coming of Age Day
11 Feb Saturday National Foundation Day
23 Feb Thursday  Emperor’s Birthday
21 Mar Tuesday Spring Equinox
29 Apr Saturday Shōwa Day
3 May Wednesday Constitution Memorial Day
4 May Thursday Greenery Day
5 May Friday Children’s Day
17 Jul Monday Sea Day
11 Aug Friday Mountain Day
18 Sep Monday Respect for the Aged Day
23 Sep Saturday Autumn Equinox
9 Oct Monday Sports Day
3 Nov Friday Culture Day
23 Nov Thursday Labor Thanksgiving Day

Income tax

Employment income in Japan is subject to federal income tax as well as the “local inhabitants tax.” The national tax rate is typically applied at relatively progressive rates depending on the amount of income. The local inhabitants tax is applied at a flat rate that is set locally. 

Health insurance

In Japan, there is the National Universal Health Care System. Through this system, employees generally receive four standard types of insurance:

  • Health Insurance
  • Welfare Pension Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Unemployment Insurance

Both health and welfare pension insurance are classified as social insurance. As such, directors are also entitled to these benefits. Insurance premiums are jointly contributed by employers and employees.

Vacation leave

For employees that have been with a company longer than six months, they are entitled to a minimum of 10 day’s paid annual leave. This increases by one day per year, for the following two year’s service. For each subsequent year thereafter, annual leave rises by two days – to a maximum of 20 days per year. Annual leave that is unused expires after two years. 

Sick leave

In Japan, employers are typically not required to offer paid leave to employees who are absent from work due to illness or injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule if employment contracts explicitly state otherwise. 

Maternity and childcare leave

In Japan, female employees are entitled to maternity leave within six weeks of the expected birth date, and eight weeks after childbirth. Female employees are not allowed to recommence work within eight weeks of childbirth – unless they meet the following criteria:

  • The employee wishes to resume her work after six weeks – as opposed to eight weeks – post giving birth.
  • Any resumption of work will not cause medical problems, as certified by a doctor.

Unless an employment contract states otherwise, it is not mandatory for employers to pay maternity leave to their employees.

Employees in Japan are eligible for family care leave – of up to 93 days per family member. Unless stipulated in a contract or work rules, family care leave is not paid.

Employees are also eligible to receive childcare leave, during the period in which maternity leave ends and the day before a child turns one. In some circumstances, this period can be extended, up until the day a child becomes one and a half year’s old.

Childcare leave benefits:

1) JPY 420,000 of lump-sum benefit for childbirth

2) Exemption of social insurance premium

3) Maternity allowance: Approximately 2-3 month’s salary during maternity leave

4) Childcare leave benefit: Approximately 2-3 month’s salary during childcare leave

Termination and severance

Termination laws in Japan offer a significant degree of legal protection for employees. It is extremely difficult for employers to terminate an employee working in Japan. As such, there are restrictions surrounding what is considered as a ‘justified termination’. Dismissals can even be deemed as an abuse of an employee’s rights under the country’s local laws. 

Throughout the previous decades, it has been challenging for employers to successfully prove a valid legal cause for termination. The exceptions to this rule include: employees committing crimes or violations such as theft, violence, excessive insubordination, dishonesty regarding their professional credentials, or long-term poor performance in their work role.  

The tradition in Japanese business culture is to place poor performing employees on a 3-6 month probationary period. If the employee continues to underperform or not meet the expectations of the company, they can then be terminated, without it being deemed unacceptable under Japan law. 

Employers are legally required to provide employees with at least 30 day’s notice of termination. This stipulation is commonly included in the ‘work rules’ that are provide to the employee at the time of hire. 

Navigating employee terminations and handling severance packages can be complicated for companies expanding overseas for the first time. Horizons’ Japan PEO can mitigate risk for foreign companies and provide guidance through this process.  

hassle-free Japan compensation & benefits

Compensation & Benefits

Japan compensation laws
Japan’s compensation laws vary by cities and regions. As an example, Tokyo’s minimum wage is the highest in the country – 958 Yen.  In Japan, employees are paid monthly, as opposed to weekly or fortnightly. Wages commonly start low, although workers are rewarded by seniority. Promotions are generally based on a combination of experience and ability.  Unlike many Asian countries, Japan does not have a mandated 13-month bonus. However, sales employees have the opportunity to earn commissions that can be likened to those in the US.
Minimum Wage Country Comparison Chart (Per month in USD)
Switzerland (Geneva) $4,000
Italy $2,255
Australia $1996
Algeria $156
Uzbekistan $22
Guaranteed benefits in Japan

Because wages in Japan can start quite low, employers often rely on additional benefits to entice prospective employees. Guaranteed benefits in Japan include paid annual leave of 10 days – after six month’s company service. Employees receive a leave increase of one day per year, for the following two years. This continues for each subsequent year, until they reach the maximum of 20 day’s paid annual leave. 

Employees have access to excellent health care coverage under Japan’s social security system. As a result, many employers do not provide supplemental health benefits.

Employment law in Japan requires employers to offer annual physicals to all employees. This can be extended to ‘stress checkups’, if related to the nature of work. Employers are advised to budget between 10% and 15% – on top of an employee’s salary – to be allocated towards benefits. 

Japan benefit management

For employers that conduct benefit management themselves, it’s important they understand both Japan’s guaranteed benefits and what is accepted as the ‘norm’. Employers should start by researching what other businesses provide for their employees. Based on this research, employers can then decide what works best for their business. However, it should be acknowledged that this process often involves a great deal of time and travel to Japan. 

Alternatively, employers can elect to work with a benefits outsourcing company. By partnering with a company that has experience in Japanese benefit management, this can make the process much more straightforward. A global PEO like Horizons’ Japan PEO will make sure that employees receive their correct entitlements and that your business maintains employment compliance.

Benefits and compensation restrictions

Because Japan’s compensation laws vary by city, it is vital that employers keep up-to-date on regulations in their area. Additionally, employers must comply with Japanese tax laws – so as not to face fines and penalties. 

There are also strict maternity leave restrictions in Japan. Female employees are entitled to maternity leave within six weeks of their expected birth date and then another eight weeks post childbirth. A woman is prohibited from returning to work within eight weeks of childbirth, unless the following criteria are met:

The female employee wants to resume her work at least six weeks after giving birth
The female employee has doctor’s certification that resuming work will not cause medical problems

Rather than struggling to handle Japan benefit management on your own, it pays to work with Horizons. We make sure that all employees receive sufficient benefits and that your business remains compliant with Japanese employment laws. 

Hire in Japan in 24h
without your own local entity.

With Horizons, you get quick service, transparent pricing, and expert support.


A Japan PEO and a Japan EOR are two types of companies which specialize in providing human resources services to businesses in Japan.

The main difference between a Japan PEO and a Japan EOR is in the scope of their services.

Japan PEOs provide a full range of HR services, including payroll, benefits administration, and employee recruiting—all under one roof as a co-employer. Engaging a Japan PEO is essentially outsourcing your HR duties in Japan.

Japan EORs actually take over as the legal employer of your employees based abroad. Japan EORs become responsible for labor compliance for your employees in Japan.

At Horizons, we offer both PEO and EOR services in Japan. Get in touch now and let us know what service you are seeking.

A PEO in Japan can feasibly hire both local and foreign nationals to work in Japan.

However, the ability of Horizons to sponsor your foreign national employee in Japan may be limited due to visa quotas practiced in many countries.

Contact us with your requirements and our Global Mobility team with review the case and get back to you within 2 business days.

In most cases, Horizons’ Japan PEO can hire & onboard your employee within 24 hours. The actual start date of the employee will depend on their notice period obligation to their previous employer as well as any relevant hiring rules in Japan.

It is possible to get a work visa in Japan. Horizons’ Global Mobility team is a dedicated team of work visa experts. They assess the details of each case to determine feasibility and costs before Horizons applies for the work visa on behalf of your employee. If the Global Mobility team determines that your case is feasible, the process is smooth and transparent. Visa spots in Japan are limited, however—get started today to secure your employees’ visa spot.