Japanese marketing firm rewards non-smokers with extra days off

Frederick Owens
November 4, 2017

Non-smokers at the agency complained about the unfairness to the chief executive, whose response in September has drawn attention in a country where tobacco use remains popular and workers take few days off. Employees at Piala who did not smoke, the company announced, would be rewarded with up to six additional vacation days a year.

Even more importantly, the policy reportedly has encouraged four separate employees to quit the habit altogether, and according to Piala Inc.

But instead of punishing the smokers, the company wound up rewarding the non-smokers, giving them six extra vacation days a year.

One company in Japan, where smoking is deeply ingrained into culture, made a decision to do something about it. Some employers in Canada offer on-site smoking cessation programs or a health incentive to join a sporting activity or gym, says Rob Cunningham, but he doesn't know of a company offering extra vacation for non-smokers.

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In the United Kingdom as many as 17% of us smoke, down from 20% in 2010. Apparently, smokers had to travel from the 29 floor of a major office building to the basement to smoke with each break lasting around 15 minutes. The World Health Organization lists Japan at the bottom of the list in terms of anti-smoking policies according to the types of spaces that are entirely smoke-free.

The Telegraph reports that Japanese companies are increasing efforts to protect employees from the impact of second-hand smoke, with Lawson Inc, an operator of 24-hour convenience stores, in June banning smoking in its head office and regional offices. Many workplaces, along with bars and restaurants, still have smoking rooms. Smoking remains part of the culture and work environment in Japan, where it is common for companies to provide designated rooms for employees to smoke indoors. 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.

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

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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