A Swiss school has announced plans to reward its non-smoking staff members with an extra week’s holiday for setting a good example to students.
Staff at the Schillingsrain Schulheim institute near Basel, Switzerland, will receive five more days of annual leave than their smoker colleagues should the initiative go ahead.
In a proposal submitted to school management, one head of department made the suggestion for the “role model bonus”, emphasising that setting a positive example to students was crucial in order to encourage them to stay healthy and take an interest in health education.
The boarding school, which hosts children and teenagers with learning disabilities, says it places a strong emphasis on healthy and sustainable lifestyle and hopes the initiative will encourage smokers to quit.
An employee at the school confirmed that the extra holiday was in the process of being discussed by management, but had not yet been implemented.
According to figures published by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), smoking breaks in the workplace cost the UK £6.5bn every year.
Amanda Sandford, a spokesperson for ASH, said the Swiss concept was “a good incentive for staff to quit smoking.”
“The school will benefit too from smoking staff members taking less time off sick,” she added, “since smokers are statistically much more likely to fall ill from coughs and colds as well as more serious conditions.”
It is thought to be unlikely the incentive will be replicated in the UK however, since the majority of schools already had a smoke-free culture in place.
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