Company rewards non-smoking employees for not taking cigarette breaks

Joy Montgomery
November 4, 2017

The company adopted the leave policy after non-smoker staff complained that they worked more than their smoker colleagues as they took constant smoke breaks.

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

Piala Inc.'s headquarters are located on the 29th floor of an office complex, and employees who need a smoke break have to travel to the basement.

And out of that break grew resentment against smoking employees.

Out of Piala's 120 employees, 30 have taken the additional days off under the new scheme since it was introduced in September. "Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving nonsmokers some extra time off to compensate".

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

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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.

"In the United Kingdom, 70% of smokers actively want to quit so there's definitely an opportunity for companies to deliver cost-effective solutions that help them achieve their goals".

Smoking is still quite prevalent in Japan, where according to the World Health Organization, 21.7 per cent of adults smoke. But most restaurants and bars still allow smoking, at least in some areas. Almost 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that's down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures.

Smoking is a big part of Japan's business culture, with office buildings often offering indoor smoking rooms. Tokyo's governor is hoping to enact a ban on smoking in public places before the Games arrive, though will likely have trouble pushing that through.

One of those new non-smokers, Shun Shinbaba, 25, told CNNMoney he used to smoke a pack of cigarettes every two days, and that he plans to use his newfound vacation time to play tennis.

Unsurprisingly, staffers who don't smoke have been pleased with the bonus time.

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