Smokers are being given an extra reason to quit at one Japanese company. As David Pollard reports, non-smoking employees are being rewarded with an extra six days of paid leave on top of their annual allotment.
They've already been banished outside by their smoking habit. Now staff at Piala in Tokyo have been dealt another blow. They won't be getting as much leave as their non-smoking colleagues (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) EMPLOYEE OF JAPANESE MARKETING COMPANY PIALA WHO QUIT SMOKING, SHUN SHINBABA, SAYING: "I've been wanting to quit for a while, but never really had a reason to. Now I get extra leave, I have managed to." Non-smokers will get an extra six days paid leave on top of their annual allocation but only after they've been smoke free for a year. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HUMAN RESOURCE SUBMANAGER OF JAPANESE MARKETING COMPANY PIALA, MINA KATAOKA, SAYING: "We have a suggestion box for people to write messages to our boss anonymously, and many complained about the length of break-time smokers had compared with non-smokers. That's what triggered this policy." More than third of the 120 staff at the marketing firm smoke. And Japan ranks bottom of worldwide anti-smoking league tables. But there's one person who won't be changing his habits. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 74-YEAR-OLD COMPANY OWNER AND SMOKER, KEIICHI ASHIDA, SAYING: "People who don't smoke also spend time chatting, especially to other non-smokers. So, I don't agree that non-smokers work harder." There are other critics too - the work ethic in Japan means many don't take their leave entitlement anyway.