After employees of a Japanese company complained that their co-workers were taking additional time off for cigarette breaks, the employer granted them an extra 6 days of paid holiday per year. The non-smokers claimed that they were working more than their co-workers who smoked. The company, Tokyo-based Piala Inc., only introduced the non-smoking perk in September, but employees have been quick to make use of it.
According to Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesperson for the company, “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.” He explains, “Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate.”
Resentment among the non-smoking employees grew because the company office is located on the 29th floor of an office block in the Ebisu district of Tokyo. Those who smoke would need to take the busy elevator down to the basement level, meaning each cigarette break would last an average of 15 minutes per smoker.
The CEO of Piala Inc, Takao Asuka, says, “I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion.” Since this system has taken effect, 30 of the company’s 120 employees have taken additional days off.
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