• Premium Friday is a campaign where workers can leave work at 3pm on the last Friday of each month
  • Not only the company you work for, but also  your job position affects if you can enjoy Premium Friday
  • There are controversies over the campaign

What is Premium Friday?

Premium Friday is a campaign to promote consumer spending by suggesting more “premium” ways to spend time than usual. This campaign is advocated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Japan Business Federation. It is associated with a movement to improve the Japanese workplace and that promotes workers to leave their work at 3pm on the last Friday of each month. Leaving work early is suggested because the last Friday tends to be right after payday, so workers can more easily spend a little extra money on fancy dinners, shopping, or short trips. 

Premium Friday started on February 24th of this year, and many companies and organizations have been offering events and ideas to help you enjoy longer Friday evenings. One of them is 楽天 (Rakuten). On their Premium Friday webpage, you can find so many options to brighten your Premium Friday, including getting concert tickets, booking hotels, watching movies, and having some food delivered to you. 

Pros and cons

Since it was introduced four months ago, Premium Friday has been a center of controversies. What are some advantages and disadvantages of Premium Friday and how are people reacting to it?

As explained above, an advantage is that workers can leave work early and spend more free time doing anything they would like to. They could go home and get some extra sleep, or go on a three-day trip to relax. Also, as the workers spend more money than usual during their luxury free time, the Japanese economy is expected to boost more. Another advantage is there will be more cash flow, because businesses like restaurants and shopping malls may make their business hours longer and hire more employees as the number of their customers will increase. 

However, this can also be a disadvantage, because in this case, workers in these businesses have to keep working till late on Premium Fridays. Another disadvantage is that many companies cannot introduce Premium Friday because the companies become very busy towards the end of each month. For example, salespeople with monthly quotas would want to work on every last Friday of the month to meet their quotas rather than leaving work without meeting the quotas. Another example is for those who work in an accounting position. Accounting procedures at the end of the month require a lot of calculations and reports, and the job is so busy that it is extremely difficult for accountants to take early leaves on Fridays at the end of each month. 

In fact, since it started last February, Premium Friday has not been introduced to many companies and organizations. According to a report by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the campaign was implemented in only 130 private companies in Japan, whose employees consist of 0.5% of the total Japanese workforce. However, it was only the very first time examining the change, and the number of companies participating is growing, so there is still a possibility for Premium Friday to be successful and the Japanese economy to flourish more.

Enjoy Fridays to the fullest

Even though there are disadvantages and controversies about Premium Friday, it will give you extra time to enjoy your weekend if you get to have Premium Friday. Whether you go home right away or go hang out with your friends or partner, make the most of this opportunity!