Employers in the U.S. aren’t obligated to give workers smoke breaks, which are less common now than, say, in the 1950s, when people were going through Lucky Strikes like candy. For Japanese workers though, smoke breaks are a bit more commonplace, as a larger percentage of the population smokes. (Twenty-two percent in Japan versus 15 percent in the U.S.) But one company in Japan is going against the grain with a little reward system specially tailored for non-smokers.
As of September, Piala, a marketing firm based in Tokyo, is giving non-smokers an extra six days of paid vacation as compensation for all of the smoke breaks they never take. Approximately 35 percent of Piala employees smoke, according to the New York Times. (Did you know that there is a scientifically ideal vacation length? It’s this many days.)
“I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion,” said Piala CEO Takao Asuka, via Japan Times. (If you need to quit, give one of these 23 techniques a try.)
In preparation for the 2020 Olympics, Japan has been introducing more stringent anti-smoking laws to prevent secondhand smoke exposure in public spaces. While smoking is still common in restaurants and stores, it’s been banned from certain streets and public areas in cities, like Kyoto, since the early 2000s.
[Source: Business Insider]