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Workers score 4 days of leave for kicking smoking habit

Pictured: Happy businessman thinking about annual leave. Image: Getty
Would you give up smoking for four days leave? Image: Getty

A UK company will reward non-smoking workers with an extra four days of annual leave after seeing a suggestion on social media.

Managing director of training company KCJ Training and Employment Solutions Don Brydon said smoking workers can take up to half an hour a day on smoking breaks.

“They have four, five or even ten cigarettes a day and take around ten minutes outside each time,” he told The Sun.

"I looked at the other guys during these breaks and they’re always on the phones, typing away and trying to do their work, so I thought they should be compensated.”

He said he saw suggestions on social media that non-smoking staff should receive an extra four days off and decided to implement the policy.

“Cheeky cigarette breaks are a common feature of all office environments so as of right now all of our non smoking office staff have been given an extra 4 days holiday per year!” the firm said on Facebook.

“We're proud to incentivise our staff to quit smoking and to create a healthy workplace within our KCJ offices.”

Immediately, some smokers promised to stop smoking, however Brydon said they would need to be off cigarettes for 12 months to receive the additional leave.

Japanese marketing firm Piala Inc in 2017 implemented a similar policy, giving non-smokers an extra six days off a year.

Piala said the policy was about fairness, rather than a health push, and came after staff complained that non-smokers were working longer hours without reward.

According to a 2018 study from vaping company Halo Cigs, 42 per cent of non-smoking participants and 28 per cent of smoking participants believe non-smokers should receive between three and five extra days leave.

$5 billion cost to productivity

Smoking costs the Australian economy close to $137 billion, the latest figures from the National Drug Research Institute reveal, up from an estimated $31.5 billion in 2004-05.

$5 billion of that is attributed to lost productivity and worker absences.

Successive tobacco tax hikes have taken some of the sting out of that, however, with a Cancer Council Victoria-funded study finding that the 25 per cent tax hike in 2010 saw an overall reduction in the prevalence of smoking of 4.2 per cent.

Additionally, between April 2010 and April 2017 smoking among Australians older than 14 fell from 17.87 per cent to 13.30 per cent, or a fall of around 890,000 Australians.

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