Japanese Firm Offers Non-Smokers Extra Days Off to Compensate for Lack of Smoke Breaks


Usually, companies require employees to work eight hours a day and allow them one hour-long window for a break. However, employers close their eyes when smokers leave their offices for additional minutes to indulge in a cigarette. One firm in Japan viewed this as a discrepancy between smokers and non-smokers. Therefore, managers decided to give the latter extra six vacation days to make up for lack of smoke breaks.

Piala Inc. Representatives Claimed Smoke Breaks Mean 15 Extra Free Minutes Each Working Day

Marketing company Piala Inc. received a complaint from one of its employees. The worker was signaling the fact that smokers are disrupting the productivity levels within the office. The company decided to do something about it. The final decision led to the alteration of their paid vacation policy.

As a result, non-smoking staff members are now able to take six days more off each year than their colleagues. This way, they compensate for the time their smoking co-workers take each day for one cigarette.

A spokesperson for Piala, Hirotaka Matsushima, claimed that the initiative appeared on their desks thanks to their suggestion boxes. He stated that smoking employees enjoy extra free 15 minutes on average from their working day more than their colleagues. CEO Takao Asuka perceives this new measure as a way to encourage people to give up smoking as well.

“I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion.”

Japanese Authorities Have Been Trying to Curb This Habit with Little Progress

The Japanese culture has adopted this habit better than Americans. According to World Health Organization, around 130,000 people lose their lives each year in Japan due to smoking-related illnesses. Other 15,000 succumb to death due to secondhand smoke-related complications.

However, not only companies but also politicians are aware of these concerning statistics. Tokyo’s governor Yuriko Koike plans to implement a smoking ban in public spaces by 2020. Japanese health ministry previously voted in favor of a smoking interdiction in restaurants. However, discontent lobbyists managed to overturn this rule.

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