Japanese marketing firm, Piala Inc introduced a paid leave scheme granting its non-smoking staff an additional six days of holiday a year in a bid to make up for the time off smokers take for their cigarette breaks. The scheme was put in action after non-smokers complained that they worked more than the ones who smoked.
Hirotaka Matshushima, spokesperson for the company, told The Telegraph, "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".
Following the advice, Piala Inc’s CEO, Takao Asuka decided to give the company’s non-smoking staff an extra couple of days off to compensate.
According to a report in the The Telegraph, the Tokyo based company located on the 29th floor of an office block, took the matter seriously. Resentment among non-smokers grew as smokers had to travel down to the basement level to get about their business – a trip that takes a least 15 minutes. Asuka also hopes that the scheme will help some of the employees quit smoking.
At least 30 employees of the 120 working for the company have taken the additional off days under the new scheme since its introduction.Japan has been ranked at the bottom of the list in anti-smoking regulations by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Around 18 percent of the Japanese population are believed to be smokers. Though Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike planned to ban smoking in public places ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the scheme is likely to face strong opposition from pro-smoking politicians.