Council introduces clocking in and out for smokers

A local authority is planning to crack down on smokers by forcing them to clock in and out when they go for a cigarette and make up the time lost.

Breckland Council in Norfolk will present the plans to its general purposes committee on Wednesday and, if approved, they will come into effect on 1 November.

Natalie King, HR manager at Breckland Council, told Personnel Today: “What we’re doing is formalising what was already custom and practice across the council.

“We have a flexi-time system whereby employees clock in and clock out at the beginning and the end of the day, and for lunch, and they’re contracted to do a certain number of hours a week. We’re trying to make sure there’s fairness and consistency, and that isn’t the case if someone has a colleague who is regularly going out and having a cigarette break but is paid the same.”

King admitted that: “Originally we were looking at exploring the possibility of having a smoke-free council, but there wasn’t the support for that.”

Pro-smoking groups have criticised the plans. Simon Clark, director of pro-smoking group Forest, described the move as “prejudicial” and the “tyranny of the majority”.

The new policy will affect council staff at offices in Swaffham, Dereham, Thetford, Attleborough and Watton.

Comments are closed.