The Government in Japan has devised a novel way to remove, or at least delay, that Monday feeling - just give workers the morning off.

Under plans named Shining Monday, the Ministry of Economy aims to improve its citizens' work-life balance by giving them a lie-in.

Shining Monday is part of a broader plan to encourage companies to cut down on employees' overtime and get them out of the office earlier while also tackling the persistent problem of karoshi, or death by overwork.

Last year, the Government launched its Premium Friday scheme, under which companies were asked to tell staff to clock off early on the last Friday of every month so that they could spend more quality time with family and friends.

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It was hoped that the initiative would reduce work-related stress and boost the economy due to people spending more money on entertainment. It was also felt it might encourage couples to become more intimate, thereby reversing Japan's declining birth rate.

The plan met resistance, however, because companies in Japan were often under pressure to complete projects at the end of each month.

A study this year by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that while nearly 89 per cent of employees were aware of the Premium Friday scheme, just 11.2 per cent had taken advantage of it.

Undeterred, the ministry has now moved forward with Shining Monday.

Under the proposal, employers will let staff have a lie-in on the first day of the traditional working week once a month, allowing them to turn up at the office after lunch.

The ministry conducted a test of the plan in late July, telling 30 per cent of its staff to take the morning of July 27 off. Encouraged by the results, the ministry is now drawing up plans to put to Japan's corporate world. Telegraph Group Ltd