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Company Offers 6-Days-Off Incentive to Non-Smoking Employees

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A Tokyo-based company is granting its non-smoking employees an additional six days in annual paid leave to account for the cigarette breaks that smokers take. According to sources, the Japanese marketing firm Piala Inc. sanctioned the work perk after its employees filed a complaint that they worked more than those who took smoking breaks.

Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesperson for the company, told The Telegraph, “One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems. Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate.” It seems that resentment arose among non-smoking employees as a result of smokers having to go to the basement level from the company’s 29th-floor office. Each break lasted approximately a quarter of an hour.

Company Offers 6-Days-Off Incentive to Non-Smoking Employees

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“I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion,” Takao Asuka, Piala Inc. CEO, told Kyodo News . At this juncture, a minimum of 30 of the 120 employees of Piala Inc. have taken these extra days. In the process, this incentive has since encouraged four of the smoking employees to work toward quitting their habit. Thanks to such concepts as this, coupled with increased health awareness, the high price of smoking, and the aging population, the smoking rate has decreased in Japan over recent years. As an example, it was recently determined by a Japan Tobacco survey that the rate of smokers among those 20 years of age and up dropped to 17.9 percent in 2018 as compared to its 1989 rate, more than double, at 36.1 percent.

With the recent change in legislation pertaining to smoking here in Texas, it will be interesting to see how incentive programs such as the one at Piala Inc. could work in the Lone Star State as well.