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

Georgia Reed
November 3, 2017

A Japanese company is granting non-smoking employees an extra six days of paid holidays a year after they complained that they were working more than staff who took time off for cigarette breaks. After a non-smoking employee submitted a complaint about how smoke breaks were affecting productivity, marketing firm Piala Inc. made a change to its paid time off policy.

"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", company spokesperson Hirotaka Matsushima told the Telegraph.

Even more importantly, the policy reportedly has encouraged four separate employees to quit the habit altogether, and according to Piala Inc. "Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving nonsmokers some extra time off to compensate". Almost 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that's down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures. About 15 percent of adults in the United States smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Convenience store chain Lawson Inc. introduced an all-day ban on smoking at its head office and all regional offices in June, with an eye toward lowering the ratio of smokers to its entire workforce by around 10 percentage points in fiscal 2018 from 33 percent in fiscal 2016.

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

There are many western countries which encourages smoking in restaurants and work areas.

Employees have been quick to take advantage.

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.

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