Smoking wastes time: Japan firm gives non-smokers 6 extra days' leave

Each smoking break at the Tokyo firm lasted around 15 minutes

Each smoking break at the Tokyo firm lasted around 15 minutes Credit PA

"Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate".

About one-third of the people at the company, Piala, were smokers and stepped away from their desks during the day for cigarette breaks.

To promote productive work culture and healthy lifestyle, a Japanese company has promised to reward six additional holidays to employees who don't smoke.

Piala is based on the 29 floor of an office block, so smoking employees would spend approximately 10 to 15 minutes travelling to the basement floor in order to have a smoking break, with some employees taking several of these breaks during the working day.

The company granted non-smoking staff an additional six days off each year to make up for the time smokers take for cigarette breaks. Since offering the extra vacation time in September, four out of the firm's 42 daily smokers have given up the habit.

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", he explained.

In an effort to convince more of its workers to quit smoking and improve their health, one Japanese company believes it may have found a winning incentive: an extra week of paid vacation.

And out of that break grew resentment against smoking employees. After the offer was announced in September, four employees made a decision to give up smoking, the company said.

Japan lags behind other developed nations in terms of smoke-free policies and the social pressure to quit is less intense.

The country's smoking laws confine most outdoor smoking to designated areas, and it is banned on the street, but most restaurants and bars still allow it. It was only this past year that the percentage of Japanese adults who smoke fell below 20 percent. But the Japanese government is facing worldwide pressure to cut down on public smoking before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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