Smokers lose ten days of holiday

Health experts are calling on employers to do more to encourage people not to smoke cigarettes.  Staff that smoke have a 50% higher chance of taking time off work due to illness than their non-smoking colleagues.


The message has been heard at insurance fund Xerius in Antwerp where new colleagues immediately have to tell their employer whether they smoke or not.

Xerius’ Wim Mostien: “Breaks for smokers are included in the duty roster, but in return for these breaks smokers have to give up ten days of holiday.  That corresponds to the length of time these employees are not at work.  In practice we notice that virtually nobody opts for this duty roster.”

“Employees are aware what we expect from them: no extra smoking breaks.  This is how we try to discourage smoking.”

The system isn’t water-tight, because there are no active checks.

“Our point of departure is basic trust.  If we see it happening or there is abuse, we will raise the matter” says Wim.

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