Should non-smokers be given the time off smokers take on their cigarette breaks?

That’s what a  Japanese company is giving to 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.

Tokyo-based marketing firm Piala Inc. only introduced the non-smokers’ perk in September, but employees have been quick to take advantage.

One of Piala Inc’s non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box – that smoking breaks were causing resentment at work among the non-smokers because the company’s head office is on the 29th floor of an office block. Anyone wanting a cigarette had to go to the basement level, with each smoking break lasting around 15 minutes.

To date, around a quarter of the 120 employees have taken additional days off under the new system since it was introduced in September.

The scheme has also encouraged four people to give up smoking.

According to the World Health Organisation, 21.7 percent of Japanese adults smoke, although the figure is higher among males and older generations.

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