Anyone else ever experience the envy of smoke breaks while still appreciating clean lungs?
When I was a waitress my senior year of high school, I always joked about taking a "breathe break," in which I could take a break to just catch my breath. I did not (and still don't) smoke like many of the people I worked with. So while they all stepped out to smoke, part of me almost wished I liked cigarettes so I could get a little break too.
A company in Japan has taken note of the issue, and came up with a solution. They now offer their non-smoking employees an extra six days off a year, and it's paid! They believe that fairly makes up for the cigarette breaks taken by smokers.
The Tokyo-based marketing firm Piala Inc. introduced the perk after employees complained that they were working more hours than staff who took time off to smoke a cigarette, according to 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," company spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima said. "Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate."
With the company’s office on the 29th floor of a building, resentment grew among non-smoking employees as anyone craving a cigarette has to go to the basement level, according to the Telegraph — which reported that each break lasted around 15 minutes.
At least 30 of the company’s 120 employees have taken the extra days off, the Telegraph reported. The incentive has also encouraged four people to give up smoking.
"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion," Piala Inc. CEO Takao Asuka added.
A recent survey by Japan Tobacco found that the smoking rate among people aged 20 and older fell to 17.9 percent in 2018 — compared to 36.1 percent in 1989, according to the newspaper.
According to Japan's Times, the country's smoking rate has reportedly taken a major dip in recent years due to many factors, such as: health awareness, aging population, high tobacco prices, as well as tougher regulations.
I don't know about you, but if I WAS a smoker and had the opportunity to take an extra paid week off work, I would quit in a heartbeat! Not only would the PTO be nice, but it would allow a healthier lifestyle as well.