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Here’s How Many Cigarette Breaks You’re Actually Allowed To Have At Work

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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.

READ NEXT: QUIZ: Can You Pass This Primary School Times Tables Test In Less Than 60 Seconds?

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