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Forget Ma/Paternity Leave; Go For Heartbreak Leave

January 30th, 2008 · 2 Comments

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From the “not sure what to make of this” file, BuzzFeed alerts us to a new “trend” out of Japan: employers giving their employees heartbreak leave to grieve after a bad breakup.

Now, the trend only consists of one small company so far. And it’s odd that this is a Japanese company. I thought the Japanese all worked 90 hour weeks and only took 10 minute vacations once every five years.

The oddest part of this story to me is the graduated nature of the benefit, based on age. Employees 24 years or younger can take one day off per year, while those between 25 and 29 can take two days off and those older can take three days off, according to the article.

“Women in their 20s can find their next love quickly, but it’s tougher for women in their 30s, and their break-ups tend to be more serious,” Hiradate said.

This smacks of sexism and reverse ageism. Thinking back to the worst breakups of my youth, some of them knocked me out for a good 3 months or more, during which time I was a productive zero and basically a walking zombie around the workplace. As I’ve gotten older, and my career has contributed more to my general self esteem and self image, I’ve realized the end of a relationship isn’t the end of the world. And work is a solace during times of heartbreak. Or at least a distraction.

Still, I don’t see this catching on, do you? Maybe there are other types of leave we can creatively advocate for. How about a “My Favorite Sports Team Missed the Playoffs Again Leave?” Or consider “Hangover Leave” as something most of us could use now and again.

Got any other ideas? Suggest them in the comments.

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Tags: Office Romance · WorkLife