INSIDER NOV 2017

19

GIVING EXTRA HOLIDAYS TO COMPENSATE FOR SMOKING BREAKS employees an additional six days of paid holiday a year to compensate them for the extra breaks that employees who smoke are taking. According to the Telegraph, a spokesman for the company said that the policy came about after a message in the company suggestion box said that smoking breaks caused problems. Their head office is located on the 29th floor and smokers have to go down to the basement level for their breaks, meaning that each smoke break lasts about 15 minutes. Emma O’Leary is an employment law consultant for the ELAS Group. She says: “This is a gripe that we hear frequently. Non-smokers often complain that it’s unfair they are not afforded the same breaks as smokers and a Japanese firm has taken these complaints seriously. If there ever was an incentive to give up smoking, surely 6 extra days annual leave per year would be it! “Here in the UK, the Working Time Regulations require an employer to provide a 20 minute rest break for anyone who works more than 6 hours. There is no further entitlement to breaks other than those that might be reasonably required from a Health & Safety perspective. Japanese marketing firm Piala Inc. has introduced a policy giving non-smoking Could this policy be something that we could see being introduced by companies here in the UK?

“There is no legal requirement to provide smoking breaks this is something that is done entirely at the discretion of the company. It is acceptable for a company to prohibit smoking breaks so staff would have to wait for their 20 minute rest break, which generally tends to take the form of a 30 – 60 minute lunch break, in order to have their cigarette. “This is something that we are unlikely to see being widely introduced here in the UK, however, if employers are looking to promote harmony in the work place then it might be reasonable for them to consider tackling the smoke break argument either by reducing the amount of breaks allowed, or also allowing non smokers to have an additional break. “We would recommend having clear guidance and boundaries in place stating what you allow in terms of breaks, including smoking breaks. This could be either an outright ban on smoking breaks or perhaps limiting breaks to 2 x 10 minute breaks a day for all employees, smokers and non-smokers. If staff are found to be abusing any breaks you offer, this should be addressed by action up to and including applying the disciplinary process.”

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