If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant or bar, you’ll know that it gets SO hectic during service that often the only time you can get a chance to even check your phone is if you ask to go out for a cigarette.
It’s kind of an unspoken rule that people who smoke can rack up more time off work by running out every couple of hours for a smoke. But should they be allowed to do so?
Does my employer have to give me time off work for smoking breaks?
No. Smoke breaks are not protected by the law – but ‘rest breaks’ are, and you can’t be denied them by your employer.
You’re allowed 20 minutes rest if you work six hours – and if you decide to take them puffing on a tab, that’s your call.
This means that all those cigarette breaks should only be taken as part of your entitled work break…
Those breaks are:
- ‘Rest breaks’ – lunch breaks, tea breaks and other short breaks during the day. The break doesn’t have to be paid – it depends on the employment contract.
- ‘Daily rest’ – workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, eg if they finish work at 8pm, they shouldn’t start work again until 7am the next day.
- ‘Weekly rest’ – either:
- an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week
- an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight
The Government’s rules on employees’ breaks are here.