Closings & Delays

Poll: Should workplaces offer extra vacation time to non-smoking employees?

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A company in Japan is making waves after a special offer to non-smoking employees.

Piala, a Tokyo-based marketing firm, has started giving non-smoking employees six additional paid days off a year.

The company says the idea came from an employee who complained that colleagues who smoked often worked less because of the cigarette breaks they took throughout the day. That led the agency to come up with what it’s calling a “win-win” solution.

“We don’t give punishment for smoking,” said Piala spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima. “Instead, we offer a benefit for not smoking.”

Employees used to think it was unfair that smokers “spend about 15 minutes each for a cigarette break,” he told CNNMoney. The situation was compounded by the fact that smokers often ventured down from the company’s office on the 29th floor to a smoking area in the basement.

Altogether, the cigarette breaks kept many employees away from their desks for about 40 minutes each day, according to Matsushima.

About 1 in 5 adults in Japan smoke, and smoking rooms are commonly found in offices and public establishments.

Since Piala introduced its new vacation incentive in September, 4 out of 42 smokers on staff have given up, Matsushima said.

One of them, 25-year-old Shun Shinbaba, told CNNMoney he used to go through a pack of cigarettes every two days. He plans to use his extra time off to play tennis.

Unsurprisingly, staffers who don’t smoke have been pleased with the bonus time.

“Without doing anything, their vacation increases by six days,” Matsushima said.

Our question is, should workplaces offer extra vacation time to non-smoking employees?

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