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When work schedules go up in smoke.

NON-smokers at work are fuming over the additional breaks their smoking colleagues seem to be taking and are demanding additional breaks to compensate.

The claim comes in a report. by business information provider Croner.

About 27% of the UK population smoke, with each smoker having on average 14 a day.

Croner says it receives almost 100 phone calls a week from bosses on how best to deal with staff smoking breaks and avoid colleagues' resentment.

Employment law expert Richard Smith: ``Employers often ask us if they should limit or stop smokers from having cigarette breaks, or if non-smokers should be entitled to extra breaks to compensate.

``In fact, neither non-smokers nor smokers have the right to request additional breaks and it is entirely down to the discretion of the employer.''

But he added: ``Employers should ensure that all employees have equal opportunities for comfort breaks.

``Smokers may choose to leave the office for a cigarette, while a non-smoker may have a cup of tea or the traditional chat by the water cooler.

``However,it may appear,and is often the case, that smokers are taking longer and more frequent breaks than non- smokers. In such cases,employers should ensure their policy on smoking and refreshment breaks is up to date.''

Among advice for bosses is to consider giving smoking employees the option to take a shorter lunch break and more smoking breaks.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 6, 2003
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