Norfolk workers might not be paid for cigarette breaks

Workers could be forced to clock off when they go for a cigarette under proposals made by a Norfolk council.

Breckland Council said the move aimed to make it fairer for individuals who did not smoke.

Staff will not be paid in future for the time they take to have a cigarette if the proposals are given the go-ahead at a meeting on Wednesday.

Simon Clark, from Smokers' lobby group Forest, said everyone was entitled to a break during work.

He said: "Are they going to introduce clocking in and off for people who go on the internet, on Facebook, or people who want to have a cup of coffee?

"I am sure there are some smokers who abuse the situation and go out too often but if that is happening that is a failure of management."

'Management failure'

William Nunn, leader of the Conservative-run council, said: "We want to make sure this policy is fair for all, including those that don't smoke and don't take advantage of breaks out of the building.

"We surveyed all of our staff and 75% responded and said we should get a policy through the authority which made it fair for all.

"We are not trying to stop smoking... what we are saying is when people go for a cigarette they should do it in their own time."

In 2005 Nottingham City Council introduced a ban on workers taking smoke breaks during working hours.

The following year, West Lancashire District Council approved a complete ban on smoking outside council premises.

Staff at Basildon Council must make up the time taken for smoke breaks, while at Waveney in Suffolk staff must clock in and out and in North Norfolk, staff are not allowed to smoke on site during office hours.

Elsewhere, workers at Carmarthenshire County Council already clock out for smoking breaks as do staff at Gateshead and Newcastle Councils.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites