How To Write A Smoking Policy For Your Workplace

    Since 2007 smoking in public places and enclosed work spaces has been banned in the UK, which seems to have contributed to a decline in smoking throughout the country.

    However, there are still over 9 million British adult smokers, so it’s more than likely that there are a couple of smokers in your business – does your company have a policy in place for these employees?

    Although there is no legal obligation to provide facilities or breaks for employees who smoke, your workplace must have a clear policy in place which needs to be included in your employee handbooks so that all workers are aware of the law and your specific company procedures for smokers.

    If you would like some further advice on smoking in the workplace, or you require some support with writing up your policy, then please call us on 0845 2626 260

    What does the law say about smoking in the workplace?

    The UK law on smoking in the workplace is very clear; it’s completely prohibited and workers who are found smoking can be fined up to £200.

    Employers also have a duty to enforce this law by displaying ‘no smoking’ signs around the premises (you could face a fine of £1000 otherwise) and not providing any staff smoking rooms since smokers must go outside.

    There are also laws in place when it comes to company vehicles. If a work vehicle is used by more than one person, then smoking is forbidden in that vehicle.

    As you can see, the main aim of the Smoke Free Legislation is to protect those who don’t smoke from the health dangers of second-hand smoke inhalation.

    Bear this in mind when writing up your policy as it needs to consider both the health and safety of the employees who smoke and those who do not.

    It is important to note that Smoke Free Legislation does not include vaping/e-cigarettes, so it is up to you, the employer, as to how you wish to incorporate this into the policy.

    It needs to be mentioned though as there are approximately 3 million vapers in the UK and this figure continues to grow year on year.

    Are your employees entitled to smoke breaks?

    There is no statutory right to smoke breaks in the UK, but all employees are entitled to one rest break of at least 20 minutes for working in excess of six hours. Therefore, your employee may choose to use this agreed break time to go off site and smoke (if there is no smoking area provided outside on the premises).

    Many workplaces are quite flexible when it comes to breaks for smokers and allow employees to pop outside throughout the day with some close monitoring to ensure that breaks are not too frequent or too lengthy.

    If you choose not to allow additional breaks for smokers then this must be clearly outlined in your policy.

    What does your smoking policy need to include?

    A smoking policy need not be too extensive, but it is important that you ensure any rules you put in place are fair to both those who smoke and those who don’t.

    The main points your smoking policy will need to cover are:

    If you would like to speak to a professional HR consultant regarding smoking at work or any other HR policies and issues, then call us today on 0845 2626 260

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