Japanese Company Gives Non-Smokers an Extra Week of Vacation

Tuesday, 31 Oct, 2017

"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", Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for the company told The Telegraph.

After receiving a complaint from one of the non-smoking employees, the company's CEO acted on it and chose to give non-smoking employees extra time off to compensate.

The complaints filed by non-smokers multiplied because the company's offices are located on the 29th floor of a skyscraper from Tokyo.

Meaning anyone wanting to take a cigarette break had to go to the basement level, lasting around 15 minutes a time.

Many Japanese firms are encouraging their workers to quit smoking, especially as the 2020 Summer Olympics draw near.

So following complaints, company bosses chose to act and introduce a means of readdressing the balance.

According to The Independent report, company's CEO Takao Asuka took the decision in September to inspire staff to quit smoking and embrace healthy lifestyle.

At least 30 of the company's 120 employees have taken their days off since the new system was introduced, according to Matsushima, who is also a non-smoker and used the free days to travel to a thermal resort with his family.

He claimed the scheme has encouraged four people to give up smoking, so it looks like this company may be onto something.

World Health Organisation statistics indicate 21.7 percent of Japanese adults smoke - though the figure is higher among older generations. 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.