Smok­ers’ breaks un­der fire

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MOST work­ers think it is un­fair that smok­ers take cig­a­rette breaks dur­ing the day, with 42 per cent be­liev­ing smok­ers should have to dis­close their smok­ing sta­tus in job in­ter­views, a sur­vey finds.

But the Em­ploy­ment Of­fice poll re­veals that 80 per cent of em­ploy­ers would not be de­terred from hir­ing a can­di­date if they re­vealed their smoker sta­tus.

Man­ag­ing direc­tor Tu­dor Marsden-Hug­gins says the av­er­age smoker takes four cig­a­rette breaks a day, last­ing about 15 min­utes each.

‘‘ That means smok­ers are spend­ing an hour a day, on top of their lunch break, tak­ing time out to smoke,’’ he says.

‘‘ So non-smok­ers are work­ing five hours more per week – a to­tal of 30 work­ing days per year – than their nico­tine neigh­bours.

‘‘ While smok­ers may ar­gue that their breaks al­low them to recharge and re-en­er­gise, non-smok­ers of­ten claim that be­ing out of the of­fice on smok­ing breaks ac­tu­ally re­duces pro­duc­tiv­ity and can cause an­i­mos­ity to arise in non-smok­ing col­leagues who feel smok­ers are en­ti­tled to un­fair breaks.’’

He says a work­place smok­ing pol­icy can help re­duce the amount of time chewed up by smokos but em­ploy­ers need to re­mem­ber the rights of em­ploy­ees on both sides of the ar­gu­ment.

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