Japanese company increases vacation time for non-smokers

This Japanese firm rewards non-smoker employees to promote productive work culture

This Japanese firm rewards non-smoker employees to promote productive work culture

Marketing firm Piala Inc introduced a new paid leave allowance in September after non-smokers complained that they were working more than their colleagues who smoked. Apparently, smokers had to travel from the 29 floor of a major office building to the basement to smoke with each break lasting around 15 minutes.

The main reason Piala is doing this is to balance out the time smoking employees spend on cigarette breaks each week.

Representative ImageThis is exactly what a Tokyo-based company Piala Inc. did when they received a complaint from their suggestion box saying that smoking was affecting the quality of work.

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"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", chief executive Takao Asuka told the Kyodo News.

It's notable that it's a Japanese company leading the way: around 35% of Pilia employees smoke, as does almost 22% of the country's population - one of the highest rates in the world. "Instead, we offer a benefit for not smoking".

A Japanese company has started giving its non-smokers extra six days off a year. The move was aimed to encourage smokers to quit, but it's also about equality.

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Globally, smoking carries costs of more than $1 trillion per year, according to a study from the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Secondhand smoke in particular is a constant health threat, with smokers free to light up in restaurants, bars and other public spaces. However, in Japan, smoking is banned at work places and a common smoking room is constructed for employees to smoke only in that common room. The figure is expected to change as the government has been putting effort to impose tougher anti-smoking laws ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Unsurprisingly, staffers who don't smoke have been pleased with the bonus time. He plans to use his extra time off to play tennis.

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