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Japanese Company Gives More Vacation Time to Non-Smokers

Topics: Current Events
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Your employer would almost certainly prefer it if you would not smoke. According to a 2013 study from Ohio State University, smokers cost their employers between $2,885 to $10,125 per year in lost productivity and healthcare expenses.

Some companies have responded by banning smokers altogether — or at least, not hiring candidates who use tobacco. Others charge smokers more for their health insurance.

Those methods are the stick; now, one Japanese company offers the carrot: additional days off for employees who don’t smoke.

Quit Smoking, Gain Time Off

Piala, a marketing firm, has a higher-than-typical rate of smokers: 35 percent of employees light up, compared to about 20 percent of Japanese people nationwide. This lead to some friction in the organization.

The New York Times reports:

Despite the time the smokers were away from work, everyone left the office for the night at the same time.

Nonsmokers 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.

Takao Asuka, Piala’s CEO, tells The Japan Times that he hopes the incentive will inspire workers to quit smoking. Four employees have reportedly done so since the plan rolled out two months ago.

Whether more workers will follow suit remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, non-smoking employees at the company can at least take comfort in the knowledge that they make up that lost break time in the form of a longer vacation.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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Leave Smokers Alone!

In Australia, at least, I cant think of an office based job where a smoker can just pop off whenever they want to light up. All smokers I know do so in their designated breaks (they usually end up not really eating because they want to get a couple in before heading back). Maybe this was an issue once – and in Japan? But I honestly have not witnessed it. In jobs where you may be out on the road/not… Read more »

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