A small business owner has made headlines in several countries after kicking off the new decade by offering his employees extra leave — but only if they skip the smoko-breaks.
Don Bryden, managing director of UK-based firm KCJ Training, is offering his non-smoking staff an extra four days of leave each year — and is hoping other firms around the world follow his lead.
Speaking to the Swindon Advertiser — the quotes from which have gone viral over the last 48 hours — the business owner said he made the decision after noticing how the age-old smoko-break eats into company time.
“I was watching the employees that smoke. They have four, five or even 10 cigarettes a day and take around 10 minutes outside each time,” Bryden told the British paper.
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“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.”
The business initially announced the change on Facebook on January 2, 2019, characterising the change as a “non-smoking 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!
“We’re proud to incentivise our staff to quit smoking and to create a healthy workplace within our KCJ offices,” the company said.
It’s not the first time a company has experimented with extra leave for workers who drop the fags. Back in 2017, Japanese company Piala Inc. granted non-smoking staff an extra six days off each year, following an employee complaint that smoko-breaks were eating into productivity.
In Australia, employers are responsible for setting reasonable parameters around smoking breaks in the workplace, and while employees are not legally entitled to smoke-breaks specifically, there is a responsibility under workplace health and safety laws to ensure worker wellbeing.
Back in 2017, a worker at a plumbing business won $5,000 in compensation after they were fired for showing up late and taking too many smoke breaks.