Japanese worker fined for taking over 4,500 cigarette breaks

In 14 years, and counting an average of 250 days a year, a person goes to work about 3,500 working days, with a hundred days more or less, in Japan, can be very expensive.

The best example is in Osaka, where a local official was fined 1.44 million yen, equivalent to about 10,000 euros, for taking 4,512 cigarette breaks over the past 14 years. In other words, he was punished for leaving his workplace once a day (and sometimes twice a day) to smoke a cigarette.

The subject of this sanction is 61 years old, but he is not the only one who has been sanctioned for devoting part of his workday to the ugly vice of smoking. Two other civil servants were sanctioned with a 10% reduction in salary for six months, as they were also warned repeatedly that they could not leave their posts, but they ignored the warnings.

The Duty of Dedication

As reported by the Japanese daily The Mainichi during his tenure as head of one of the prefecture's departments, the 61-year-old left his post 4,512 times, for a total loss of 355 hours and 19 minutes. This is the time he would have been paid without working and will have to pay back.

He left his job 4,512 times, for a total loss of 355 hours and 19 minutes.

The investigation began when the prefecture's human resources division received an anonymous complaint in September 2022. At that time, the staff supervisor decided to notify the three individuals involved, but did not sanction them at the time. However, they were placed under surveillance and found that the warning was useless and they continued to leave their workplaces to go smoke.

The director met again with the staff members, who lied that they had not been smoking since then, but to no avail. A case was opened under the Local Government Service Act and it was concluded that their actions constituted a breach of duty of care and it was decided to fine them accordingly. Tobacco cost them dearly.

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