A company in Japan is offering an extra six days of paid time off per year for its nonsmoking employees to make up for smokers’ cigarette breaks, The Telegraph reported.
Piala Inc., a marketing firm in Tokyo, decided to make a change after employees complained that they were working more hours than staff who took time off to smoke a cigarette. The company granted nonsmoking staff an additional six days off each year to make up for the time smokers take for cigarette breaks.
“I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion,” Takao Asuka, Piala Inc. CEO, told Kyodo News.
At least 30 of the company’s 120 employees have taken the extra days off and four gave up smoking since the new policy was put in place.
One of those new nonsmokers, Shun Shinbaba, 25, used to smoke a pack of cigarettes every two days, plans to use his newfound vacation time to play tennis, according to CNNMoney.
The Japan Times reported that the smoking rate in Japan has dropped in recent years thanks to increasing health awareness, an aging population, tougher regulations, and higher cigarette prices and the smoking rate among people aged 20 and older fell to 17.9 percent in 2018—compared to 36.1 percent in 1989.
In America, 15 percent of adults smoke, down from 20 percent in 2005. The number of American smokers decreasing is due in part to health initiatives and laws banning smoking in certain areas, major retailers no longer selling cigarettes and anti-smoking TV advertisements, according to CNBC.