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  • Writer's pictureYi-Ting Lin

A Brief Introduction of Holidays in North East Asia

Written by Yi-Ting Lin

In many European countries, no matter how long an employee serves in a company, he/she is entitled to a fixed (and usually long!) term of paid holidays. However, in North East Asia, it is not the case.

When an employee starts to work for a company, he/she can only enjoy a limited number of paid holidays. However, the it will increase as an employee keeps working for the same company.

Here is a list of paid holidays an employee who serves in a company for one year can enjoy:


Annual Paid Leaves

South Korea






Hong Kong







How many days of paid holidays accumulated per year and the maximum number of paid holidays vary from one country to another. For example, in Hong Kong, after an employee works in a company for two years, his/her annual paid holidays will increase one day each year (e.g. an employee who stays in a company for three years can enjoy eight days of paid holidays per year; while an employee who stays in a company for four years can enjoy nine days of paid holidays per year), until it is increased to 14 days. On the other hand, in South Korea, the number will be increased at a rate of one day per two years, until it is increased to 25 days.

Of course, just like other jurisdictions, what we talked about is just the minimum requirement stipulated in laws. Companies are free to give their employees more paid holidays to attract talent.

In addition, unlike Europe, employees in the Mandarin-speaking region in North East Asia[1] can cash out their unused paid holidays. This probably reflects the different attitudes towards work life balance between these two regions. We also bring you to the attention that, in Hong Kong, even though employees can cash out the unused paid holidays, he/she should at least use 10 days of paid holidays per year. Those 10 days cannot be exchanged for monetary compensation.


Besides paid holidays which employees can enjoy freely, there are also different rules about national holidays in different areas. Take Christmas for example, is Christmas a national holiday – which is the case in most western countries – in North East Asia? Due to the cultural difference, except for South Korea and Hong Kong, Christmas isn’t a national holiday in other jurisdictions in North East Asia. For many westerners who study or work in North East Asia, it is a big surprise for them. If they still want to fully enjoy Christmas holiday, they have no choice but to use their own paid holidays.






About the Author:

Ms. Yi-Ting Lin obtained her bachelor’s degree of law from National Taiwan University in 2017. During her bachelor’s, she went to the University of Groningen as an exchange student for 5 months, which triggered her interest in working in an international environment. She passed the bar exam of Taiwan at the end of 2017 and obtained the official attorneys’ license in August 2018 after several months of training. After that, she worked in THLK Partners, a boutique law firm in Taipei, as an associate, specializing in corporate laws, business laws, and financial laws. In 2021, she came to the Netherlands again to pursue the Master’s degree of International Business Law in Tilburg University, and successfully obtained her diploma in 2022. Now, she works as a legal assistant at Jomec (Rotterdam office).

[1] Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.


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