10 September 2009

Smoke breaks

My wife was discussing labour law with a lawyer the other day, and he said that an employer would be entitled to deduct an employee's smoke breaks from their annual leave.

If you added it all up -- a ten minute smoke break in the morning, and another in the afternoon, that would probably take up most of their annual leave. And why not?

After all, drinkers don't take drink breaks, and crack heads don't take crack breaks, so why should smokers take smoke breaks? Or, if it is something they are entitled to, why don't non-smokers take fresh air breaks? Non-smokers often have to cover for smokers when they are out on their smoke breaks - answer their phone and so on.


Aquila ka Hecate said...

I'm one of those people who's so aware of the time I take away ffrom my employer for smoke breaks, that I work a minimum of two hours per day more than the required amount.

To answer your question, though: nicotine addiction seems to dictate an hourly top-up, as opposed to alcohol or cocaine (actually I dunno about cocaine, I'm guessing!). And at my company, the non-smokers do take air breaks.

Terri in Joburg

Tauratinzwe said...

I'm with you. Non-smokers should get extra days off with pay to reward them for their extended work days.

Mthoko said...

I have always wondered what is so special about the smoker that he or she deserves such a luxury. Rest assured the smoke breaks are longer than the air breaks!

seithman said...

I'm not sure what the laws are there. However, here in the U.S., employers are required to permit all employees working an eight hour shift two fifteen-minute breaks during that shift.

Granted, those breaks can be without pay, meaning they stil have to work eight hours. However, most employers don't do that here.

Also, at my job at least, even we non-smokers tend to take breaks. I doubt the smokers "waste" any more time than the rest of us.

But like I said, things may be different over there.

CherryPie said...

Always a very emotive issue in our workplace.

James Higham said...

I'll always vote for freedom rather than restriction.

Fr. Andrew said...

Back when I was a stagehand, we always referred to it as "going outside to check for an eclipse."


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