Should non-smoking workers get extra holiday days?

It is thought that not only do smoking breaks result in a loss of productivity per year

A recent study conducted by an electronic cigarette manufacturer revealed that as much as 40% of non-smokers believe that they should be entitled to additional holiday days. Their colleagues who do smoke have been shown to spend several days a year not working due to their cigarette breaks, which are allowed and accommodated by their employers.

A considerable percentage of the non-smokers questioned in the survey believe that they should be compensated with at least as many holiday days as the total number of days spent by the smokers on cigarette breaks.

The study also found that the average amount of time amassed by taking cigarette breaks in the working year amounted to several days of lost productivity, and could be anywhere from 6 days to a staggering 20 days of lost work; this was found to vary depending on the industry in which the employees worked. Those working in finance, retail and technology were amongst the worst offenders.

It is thought that not only do smoking breaks result in a loss of productivity per year, but the cost of the loss of productivity due to smoking-related illnesses every year also amounts to billions. This further adds to the debate that more holiday days for non-smokers could actually be a positive incentive for smokers to give up the habit, as well as a reward for those who already do not engage in the habit.

The number of additional days off that would be considered enough of an incentive to quit smoking amounted to an average of 11.5 in the study, with women claiming that they would quit smoking for an additional 11 days of holiday, and men agreeing to do so for an additional 12 days of holiday.

The survey also found that a large majority of workers across various industries believe that there should be additional incentives to encourage employees to give up smoking. These would largely be financial incentives, but could also include holidays and other perks. Over 90% of those employed in the arts agreed with this suggestion, while around 70% of workers in the finance industry agreed.

Employers may well use the findings of such surveys to determine whether non-smoking incentives and perks should feature in future workplace policies. However, it is unclear whether these smoking-related incentives could expand to include incentives for other healthy behaviours that may affect workplace performance.

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