Japanese company increases vacation time for non-smokers

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

It all comes down to those lengthy smoking breaks people tend to take several times a day.

The idea is that staff can win up to six additional holiday days annually, simply by steering clear of cigarette breaks at work.

The corporate planning director for Piala, Hirotaka Matsushima, said Thursday that the company began offering the six days of extra vacation to all of its 120 staff members in September. 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 company came to its envy-inducing vacation policy decision after a group of non-smoking employees complained about the issue.

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

As per a study by World Health Organisation and US Cancer Institute, smoking is costing Dollars 1 trillion to the world economy, which is way more than global revenues from tobacco taxes.

However, it's unclear whether those results would translate directly to Japan where 21.7 percent of Japanese adults smoke. The rate in the U.S.is 19.5 percent.

The change in company policy is meant to encourage staff to quit smoking.

One company in Japan, where smoking is deeply ingrained into culture, chose to do something about it.

More stringent anti-smoking laws - including banning indoor smoking in public places - are due to kick-in ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

In Japan, while smoking is allowed in restaurants and bars without any designated smoking area, it is banned on the streets.

Unsurprisingly, staffers who don't smoke have been pleased with the bonus time. Now that he has additional vacation leaves because of the paid leave allowance, he plans to use his extra time off to play tennis.

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