How often does a cigarette break?

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Małgorzata Majewska, an expert at monsterpolska.pl

Despite the fact that smoking is becoming less and less popular, there are still entire groups of employees who take a cigarette break several times a day. How often can an employee take such a break?

Neither the Labor Code nor other provisions of the labor law introduce a special cigarette break. Moreover, nowadays smoking is prohibited in public places, unless the employer designates a special room for this purpose. However, if an employee often goes out for a cigarette, it is worth remembering what breaks the employee is entitled to in practice.

First of all, employees who work at least 6 hours a day have

the right to a 15-minute break during the day, which they can use freely, both for lunch and for a cigarette - emphasizes Małgorzata Majewska, expert of monsterpolska.pl. Such a break does not extend the working time by 15 minutes.

Employees who spend at least half of their working day in front of a computer monitor are entitled to a 5-minute break every hour. Such employees can by far the most often "legally" go out for a cigarette.

In addition, the employer may introduce a lunch break of 60 minutes during the day, which extends the working time to 9 hours a day. Such a break may also be used freely by the employee - e.g. for personal matters, such as a visit to the doctor.

Apart from the above-mentioned cases, taking a cigarette break by an employee has no legal basis. Nevertheless, if the work is performed in a timely manner and there are no delays in the performance of duties due to smoking, as a rule, the employer may not prohibit smoking.

It is also worth considering other methods of motivating the employee to limit smoking breaks, such as smoking ban on the premises and within the workplace. For violating such a prohibition, the employer may introduce, for example, order penalties or the threat of reducing the discretionary bonus - emphasizes Małgorzata Majewska, expert of monsterpolska.pl.