Finally! A Plan for Employee Smoke Breaks that Works!

I’ve long been very outspoken about how I hate employee smoke breaks. I don’t smoke and I don’t get a paid hour each day to just stand outside and slowly kill myself! I do love diet Mt. Dew! Can I stand outside, get paid, do zero work, and just drink my diet Mt. Dew? Of course not, I would be fired!

Finally, a company came up with a plan to solve the employee smoke break dilemma. A Japanese company (smoking is huge in Japan) decided to reward non-smokers with paid time off! From the article:

Piala, a marketing firm based out of Tokyo, begun offering its non-smoking employees extra paid days after an employee complained that colleagues who take breaks throughout the day to smoke often end up working less…Piala began offering the days-off incentive in September, at which point the company employed about 120 people, of which more than three dozen were smokers. Since then, four have quit smoking, Matsushima said.

I LOVE this!

This works because it’s not negative to those who smoke. Go ahead and keep smoking, good for you! But, if you don’t smoke, we’ll give you an extra 6 paid days off per year. It encourages some folks to quit, become more healthy, and get a benefit.

Plus, it solves the time away from work issue for those who don’t smoke. Non-smokers, because they don’t take smoke breaks, potentially have the ability to work more time and it’s easy to see how this is unfair to those workers who choose to not smoke.

Smokers cost employers more money, that’s a proven fact. The health insurance increase alone is giant, but also you have the issue of non-productive, paid breaks. Paying the extra six days to non-smoker employees is fair, and the hope is you’ll entice your smokers to give it up to get the extra time off.

This is great HR.

Thinking outside the box, doing something differently, to turn a negative into a positive, and allow your employees to still have a choice. It’s really hard to make that happen, but I love this forward-thinking plan.

So, what do you think? Would your organization be open to doing something similar? What stands in your way?

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