Budget 2017
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A Japanese firm is offering non-smokers an extra six days of holiday, after cigarette-free employees complained about their colleagues' unproductive fag breaks.

Piala Inc, a marketing firm based in Tokyo, said it is giving their non-smoking employees the holidays to reward them for spending more time at their desks.

The company is situated on the 29th floor of a commercial tower block and workers are forced to visit the basement to smoke. This can take up to 15 minutes –and the extended cigarette breaks caused resentment to grow among staff.

Speaking to The Telegraph, company spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima said: "One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems.

"Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate."

The company sees the perk as a way to reward extra time spent in office and hopes to convince employees to put away the tobacco.

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion," according to CEO Takao Asuka.

The scheme was introduced in September but has already proven popular with its employees. So far 30 out of 120 workers have taken time off. The company claims four people have already given up smoking because of the scheme.

Matsushima – himself a non-smoker – said he has already taken his family on a four-day holiday thanks to the company's generous offer.

Paid time off is an attractive proposition in a country where workers struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Japanese labour laws allow for just 10 days of paid holiday every year and employers are not required to give employees increased pay for working public holidays.

Earlier this month (October 2017), a Japanese journalist died after it was reported she worked 159 hours of overtime in just four weeks.