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This company gives non-smokers paid leave for 'lost cigarette breaks'
Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 1st Nov 2017

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Declan Cashin1 November 2017

Cheeky cigarette breaks are a common feature of all office environments - but non-smokers in one firm are taking a stand against colleagues who disappear for regular trips outside to light up.

The Japanese firm Piala Inc has decided to give non-smoking staff six extra paid leave days a year after they complained they were working longer hours than their cigarette-craving counterparts.

The initial complaint arose when non-smokers noticed that, because their office was located on the 29th floor of an office block, each colleague's smoking break was lasting around 15 minutes in all.

"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," said company spokesperson Hirotaka Matsushima.

CEO, Takao Asuka, added: "I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion."

The holiday-compensation policy was only introduced in September, but it's already proved popular with staff, with around 30 out of 120 employees having taken extra days off.

Unsurprisingly, non-smokers appear to be in favour of the holiday-for-smoking-breaks scheme.

magdalena osumi @jt_mag_os

Yay. I think it’s fair. I used to work with people who spent more time on breaks. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/31/national/jaoanese-firms-introducing-anti-smoking-measures-including-incentives/ …

14:25 - 31 Oct 2017

More Japanese firms introducing anti-smoking measures, including incentives | The Japan Times

An increasing number of companies are stepping up efforts to protect employees from the health hazard of cigarettes as the central and local governments st

japantimes.co.jp

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JoshBOOa Zitser 🎃 ✔@mrjoshz

This is actually a real smart idea http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/30/non-smokers-get-six-days-extra-paid-leave-make-smokers-cigarette/ …

09:44 - 30 Oct 2017 · London, England

Non-smokers get six days extra paid leave to make up for smokers' cigarette breaks at Japanese firm

A Japanese company is granting non-smoking employees an extra six days of paid holidays a year after they complained that they were working more than staff who took time off for cigarette breaks.

telegraph.co.uk

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It turns out smoking breaks are a serious business. One 2014 report from the British Heart Foundation found that lost productivity from people taking four 10-minute smoking breaks a day cost UK businesses £8.4 billion annually - that's an average of £1,815 a year per employee who smokes during the working day.

So maybe the Japanese firm is onto something?

 

That said, missing out on the daily smoking break might mean you're missing out on vital office intel. Remember the episode of Friends where Rachel takes up cigarettes just to get ahead at work?...

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Rachelle Harper @___Rachelle___

That episode in Friends where Rachel takes up smoking just so tht she doesn't alienate herself from the team... 

12:20 - 31 Mar 2014

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As for the legal small print about breaks in the UK, if employees work longer than six hours a day, they're entitled to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break. That could be a tea break or lunch break, and whether or not it's paid depends on your contract.

On top of that, managers can say when you take rest breaks during work time as long as"the break is taken in one go somewhere in the middle of the day (not at the beginning or end). Workers are allowed to spend it away from their desk or workstation (i.e. away from where they actually work)."

But what about the odd smoking break?

The government's official rulings on rest breaks is pretty clear... "Unless a worker’s employment contract says so, they don’t have the right to take smoking breaks [or] get paid for rest breaks."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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