LAST_UPDATEMon, 21 May 2018 11pm

Japanese Firm Gives Non-Smoking Employees Extra Vacation Days

Pic: iStockPic: iStockTOKYO: A Japanese company is granting non-smoking employees an extra six annual vacation days to compensate for the regular breaks smokers take. 

Tokyo marketing firm Piala Inc introduced this policy in September after some of its employees complained they were working more hours than their colleagues who took time off to smoke, The Telegraph reported on Monday (Oct 30).

"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", said Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for the company.

The company's head office on the 29th floor meant that employees wanting to go for a cigarette break at the basement level would take around 15 minutes for each break. 

The company's CEO Takao Asuka told Kyodo News that he hoped to encourage employees to quit smoking "through incentives rather than penalties or coercion". 

To date, 30 of the company's 120 employees have made use of the additional vacation time under the new policy, said Matsushima. 

The scheme has even encouraged four employees to quit smoking, he added. 

In July, Tokyo's governor said that she would push for a law to ban smoking in public areas, with the aim to make the capital city smoke-free ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics. 

The World Health Organization also ranks Japan at the bottom worldwide in anti-smoking regulations, which is gauged by the type of public places that are smoke-free.