Employers may adhere to strict requirements as set out in legislation when providing employees with a designated smoking area. The number of smoke breaks that employees take during working hours is often a concern for employers. This could result in the employer remunerating an employee for a tremendous amount of time the employee did not work.
A designated smoking area inside the building
Employers can provide a designated area inside the building employees can use for smoke breaks. This area should however adhere to the following restrictions:
- The area may not exceed 25% of the total floor space of the building;
- The area may not be situated in an area were non-smokers will have to pass through;
- The employer must ensure that there is sufficient ventilation in the smoking area.
A designated smoking area outside the building
Employers can also make provision for designated areas outside the building employees can use for smoke breaks. This will help ensure that the employer complies with safety regulations.
Employers can regulate the number and length of smoke breaks by implementing a smoking policy in the workplace. It is essential to ensure that all policies implemented are up to date, fair and reasonable.
What do I as the employer do?
Employees taking excessive smoke breaks can impact productivity in a negative way. By taking the following in to consideration that can be avoided:
- Employers can record the amount of time spent om smoke breaks if they have a clock system in the workplace;
- Ensure that the smoking area is close to the workplace to prevent wasting unnecessary time walking between the smoking area and the workplace;
- Limit the number of smoke breaks that employees may take during the day;
- Limit the duration of the smoke breaks that employees may take during the day.
LWO Regsadviseur - LWO Legal Advisor
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