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Dave Beans

Council To Force Smokers To Clock Out When They Fancy A Cheeky One

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315651/Council-forces-smoking-staff-clock-puff-work-non-smokers.html

It is a constant source of friction among workers – why are smokers allowed to pop out for a cigarette while non-smoking colleagues continue to toil?

Now a local authority is planning to crack down on the breaks in an attempt to get better value from its employees. Breckland Council in Norfolk wants to make workers clock out and back in whenever they leave their desks for a puff.

In what is believed to be the first move of its kind in the country, they will have to work extra to make up for the lost time and make sure they are pulling their weight as much as the non-smokers. The move will affect all 280 members of staff, from managers to office workers, and smokers would be expected to make up any lost hours.

However, the proposed rule has attracted criticism from pro-smoking lobby groups who have branded it the 'tyranny of the majority'.

William Nunn, Conservative leader of Breckland Council, denied the policy was being introduced to make money.

'It came about because the staff themselves felt there was an issue of fairness going on where some people went out for a smoke and some didn't,' he said.

'We want to make sure that there is parity among all of the staff. This will apply to everybody in the whole authority and will ensure there is some form of consistency.

'This is actually a case where we are taking a very pragmatic view and enhancing the lives of our staff, they themselves came forward and said they'd like a policy.

'It's absolutely nothing to do with money because they'll make up the hours lost in their own time.'

The new policy will affect council staff at offices in Swaffham, Dereham, Thetford, Attleborough and Watton, all Norfolk. Staff at the main offices in Dereham and Thetford would be forced to use flexi-time cards to clock off and on for a smoke. William Nunn, Conservative leader of Breckland Council: 'This will apply to everybody in the authority and ensure some form of consistency'

The policy is due to be discussed by the council's general purposes committee on Wednesday, which will decide when the plans will be implemented. If they approve the new rule, which is currently 'recommended' for approval, it will come into force on November 1.

A council spokesman explained the policy, believed to be the first of its kind in Britain, was developed following a poll of staff. He said: 'Some councils have a no smoking policy while some allow staff to smoke only during lunchbreak. We believe we are the only council to take this stance.

'The consultation poll made us aware that a large number of our staff believed a clocking off and on system would be fairer.

'Many smokers agreed with the proposal because they felt it would end any animosity towards them from non-smoking staff.'

Simon Clark, director of pro-smoking group Forest, Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco, described the move as 'prejudicial'.

He said: 'I have been told that the council carried out a poll of staff to see whether staff supported the new policy. We would expect the majority to be in favour because the majority of people are non smokers. Once again we see the tyranny of the majority.

'It's completely unfair and prejudicial to pick on smokers and imply that they are slackers or take too many breaks.

'There are a lot of non-smokers taking long coffee breaks, browsing non-work internet sites and taking personal calls so I don't see why smokers should be picked on.

'Really what lies behind this is that the council is trying to embarrass people into giving up when in reality it's none of their business.'

A spokeswoman for the TaxPayer's Alliance believes the move could decrease productivity. 'The county council are trying to increase productivity but actually they risk doing the opposite if they micro-manage workers' every move.,' she said

'Of course it is better value for taxpayers' money if staff are working, not out having a cigarette, but asking smokers to clock in and out means more bureaucracy.'

I totally agree with this...Last big firm I worked for, a fair few ppl used to slope off for at least 15 minutes a time, 3 or 4 times a day..

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315651/Council-forces-smoking-staff-clock-puff-work-non-smokers.html

I totally agree with this...Last big firm I worked for, a fair few ppl used to slope off for at least 15 minutes a time, 3 or 4 times a day..

I worked for a Council 19 years ago with an electronic clocking in and out system and smokers were required to clock out then. However it did seem a bit inequitable as plenty others took a reasonable 10 minute coffee break at their desk without clocking out too.

In many ways old news.

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I worked for a Council 19 years ago with an electronic clocking in and out system and smokers were required to clock out then. However it did seem a bit inequitable as plenty others took a reasonable 10 minute coffee break at their desk without clocking out too.

In many ways old news.

Smokers used to do this too...

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Smokers used to do this too...

Everywhere I have worked, the smokers were the best informed about the company as they actually talked to people in different departments. Most worked extra at the end of the day to make up for their smoke breaks, despite smoke breaks largely being informal company meetings.

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Everywhere I have worked, the smokers were the best informed about the company as they actually talked to people in different departments.

True! smile.gif

Most worked extra at the end of the day to make up for their smoke breaks

B*llocks! laugh.gif

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Everywhere I have worked, the smokers were the best informed about the company as they actually talked to people in different departments. Most worked extra at the end of the day to make up for their smoke breaks, despite smoke breaks largely being informal company meetings.

Many used to bugger off during the peak times, leaving the non-smokers to cover them...the end of the day was normally pretty quiet...

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I hate smoking and smoke, but this is ridiculous.

Who cares if the smoker takes a 15 minute break here and there?

It sounds like being at school. I'd resign on principle.

A bigger problem, which has caused controversy on here before, is people with children turning up late, taking time off when they're sick, sorting out dramas on the work phone, flexible working etc.

A typical parent loses more time than a typical smoker many times over.

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' why are smokers allowed to pop out for a cigarette while non-smoking colleagues continue to toilet themselves?'

I fixed that for you.

Don't mention it.

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i don't think they should be made to 'clock-out' (does anyone know of any council building that actually has a clocking in system!), i just think everyone should be able to wander off for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day.

how many of us deskbound lot wander around to stretch our legs and get the eyes of the screen every hour for 5 minutes, enshrined in the impeccable H&S legislation?

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I hate smoking and smoke, but this is ridiculous.

Who cares if the smoker takes a 15 minute break here and there?

It sounds like being at school. I'd resign on principle.

A bigger problem, which has caused controversy on here before, is people with children turning up late, taking time off when they're sick, sorting out dramas on the work phone, flexible working etc.

A typical parent loses more time than a typical smoker many times over.

Flexi-time is excellent...more firms should adopt it IMHO...You can't really cheat it (unless someone clocks in & out for you), and as everything is recorded, you have to do your 37 / 37.5 hours. Is it fair that smokers do (potentially) a days work a week less than non-smokers?

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A bigger problem, which has caused controversy on here before, is people with children turning up late, taking time off when they're sick, sorting out dramas on the work phone, flexible working etc.

A typical parent loses more time than a typical smoker many times over.

If it's a controversy, then it's because there are too many whiny effers on this board. Kids, for a functioning society (hell, for a functioning species) are not optional, and nor is dealing with a kid-related crisis optional either. Smoking? Nah, not so much.

I'm not saying I support smokers having to clock in and out (fwiw I don't), but the notion that there is some kind of parity between being a parent and being a smoker is pretty bloody silly.

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Flexi-time is excellent...more firms should adopt it IMHO...You can't really cheat it (unless someone clocks in & out for you), and as everything is recorded, you have to do your 37 / 37.5 hours. Is it fair that smokers do (potentially) a days work a week less than non-smokers?

We have a flexitime system at my workplace, tracked via an electronic swipe in/out system. Core hours are 10am - 4pm, and you have to work 38.75 hours a week. Usually people front-load their working week so they can leave at 4pm on a Friday. It's great for things like going to the dentist, or the bank, as you just go before 10am.

I'm not a smoker, but I believe the system does not dock 'reasonable' time taken for smoking breaks. You do have to clock out, however, so there IS a record of who has been out when and for how long if a dispute arises for whatever reason (or you just take the mickey).

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True! smile.gif

B*llocks! laugh.gif

:lol:

It's best when you are smoking 'out of sync'..... when you have one cig, finish it just as a friend from another department arrives so you have another... bang goes half an hour

But you can always call it a 'meeting'

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Who cares if the smoker takes a 15 minute break here and there?

The poor sods foolish enough not to go out and stand with the smokers for a chat.

Someone I know used to go out when the smokers went. Didn't smoke but certainly wasn't going to be the only idiot left working.

I've worked in an office where you could have sacked half the staff and productivity wouldn't change.

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I've worked in an office where you could have sacked half the staff and productivity wouldn't change.

"How many people work in your company?"

"About half of them."

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The poor sods foolish enough not to go out and stand with the smokers for a chat.

Someone I know used to go out when the smokers went. Didn't smoke but certainly wasn't going to be the only idiot left working.

I've worked in an office where you could have sacked half the staff and productivity wouldn't change.

was it a council :lol:

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The poor sods foolish enough not to go out and stand with the smokers for a chat.

Someone I know used to go out when the smokers went. Didn't smoke but certainly wasn't going to be the only idiot left working.

I've worked in an office where you could have sacked half the staff and productivity wouldn't change.

I just don't get the interest over 15 minute blocks of time?

Do people really hate their jobs that much and take an interest in other people breaks?

I'll personally tend to have a lunch, a walk outside in the afternoons, a few coffee breaks, one or two phone calls per day where I get away from my desk. Without being a nob, I bet I'm paid a fair bit more than the average council worker (i.e. costing the client more during those breaks.)

Being metaphorically tied to your desk sounds worse than slavery. I'd crack up in hysterics if I was ever pulled up by a colleague or a manager over a 15 minute break.

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was it a council :lol:

It was.

How did you guess?

It put me off ever wanting to work in an office again tbh.

I did get to word process some disciplinary letters though. Which was a highlight of the job.

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Obviously, it depends on the nature of the job... I'm talking IT. Call center monkeys might not be so inclined.

In most IT roles you can spend half a day loafing if you want, if makes no difference as you still have to do the work that needs doing regardless of how late you have to work.

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It was.

How did you guess?

It put me off ever wanting to work in an office again tbh.

I did get to word process some disciplinary letters though. Which was a highlight of the job.

it was the

I've worked in an office where you could have sacked half the staff and productivity wouldn't change.

that gave a clue

I used to occasionally work in an office and never understood how anyone could do it every day, a terrible existance.

No wonder they need to escape!

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it was the

I've worked in an office where you could have sacked half the staff and productivity wouldn't change.

that gave a clue

I used to occasionally work in an office and never understood how anyone could do it every day, a terrible existance.

No wonder they need to escape!

I think it depends what your colleagues are like...they can make a mundane office job much more interesting...However, if you work with ppl who you can't have a laugh with, then it must make the days just trudge along...

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I think it depends what your colleagues are like...they can make a mundane office job much more interesting...However, if you work with ppl who you can't have a laugh with, then it must make the days just trudge along...

Oh they were alright, used to have a real laugh but the inactivity just drove me mad. Each to their own eh.

Now I do a bit of office and a bit of workshop which suits me.

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Does anyone know of any council building that actually has a clocking in system!

Yes.

Also while smoking breaks were recorded for a time, they are now not allowed at all :|

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