Japanese firm rewards non-smokers with extra six days paid leave

Singapore companies should follow suit.

A Japanese firm rolled out an initiative known as “Sumokyu” — wordplay using “smoke” and a Japanese word for “break” – giving non-smokers an additional 6 days off.

Marketing firm Piala Inc. introduced the new leave arrangement last September after complaints by non-smokers who felt they were putting in more work hours than their colleagues who smoked.

Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman 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.”

The staff revealed that smokers took between 10 to 15 minutes of work hours each time they leave their desks for smoke breaks.

The company CEO Takao Asuka acted on the staff’s suggestion.

In an unexpected twist, the initiative has led to four of the 42 smokers — from a workforce of 120 people — to quit smoking in order to receive extra leave.

According to a study, the average smoker wastes around 6 days a year on cigarette breaks at work.

The study also revealed that employees in the technology, wholesale and retail, and finance and insurance sector spent more than an hour and 20 minutes each day on smoke breaks at work – equivalent to 20 days every year.

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