Smoking or Working? Managing smoking breaks and general pauses with a time recording system
The “Don’t Smoke” petition in Austria with its vast 881,569 signatures has recently also led to the revival of another discussion – the issue about smoking breaks at the workplace. While in some companies a “checkout” during these breaks is common practice, other companies have few or no rules concerning the cigarette break. Depending on the regulations, both smokers and non-smokers can thus feel disadvantaged in the process.
In fact, there is still no legal basis for the regulation of the classical “5 minutes” – neither on a federal level nor in collective contracts. The law only provides a compulsory break time of at least 30 minutes if the daily working time exceeds 6 hours. How long the actual break time lasts and whether the entire break is consumed in one piece or divided into several breaks remains an internal decision. If there is a lack of clear regulations for smoking breaks, it often enough occurs that smokers take their cigarette breaks during working hours, which is resented by many non-smoking colleagues.
Flexible Time Management as a solution
In order to create enterprise-wide solutions in this area, many workers’ councils advocate special break regulations which are then recorded in a works agreement. In the absence of such an agreement, individual contracts between an employee and the company are also possible. Nowadays, for example, some companies solve the problem of breaks for smokers, which are sometimes perceived as “unfair”, with a flat-rate additional break for all employees. This break is part of working time and can be taken flexibly apart from the mandatory break times.
Especially with irregular break intervals and durations, as in this example, it is often difficult to record and adhere to them – here, it requires maximum flexibility as well as simple and intuitive handling from the time recording software. This is exactly where the Webdesk EWP and Personalwolke solutions from Workflow EDV GmbH kick in – to contribute to a fair and transparent management of break times. Due to our numerous years of experience in this area, we have already successfully implemented solutions for several customers, integrating any break times – whether with or without cigarette – simply and automatically into the time recording system.
These solutions can be individually adapted to the respective rules and conditions in your company. Let’s imagine, for example, that the company agreement states the following:
“Each employee is granted an additional (paid) break of 10 minutes per day, freely available. This break must be booked in the system with the absence reason ‘Break’.”
The Workflow solution:
The employee Barney Flintstone wants to take a smoking break. The employee Anna Baker takes a short walk. Both are booking “break” as a reason for absence in the Webdesk/Personalwolke interface . From this absence time, the system automatically includes up to 10 minutes per day into the working time – break times that exceed this amount no longer count as working time and are automatically deducted from the time account.
Of course, these solutions can be combined with all flexitime and working time models as part of time recording. This results in numerous
advantages for the entire company – from employees to supervisors to personnel managers:
- Clear conditions regarding break time regulations and their compliance
- Easy overview of paid/unpaid and consumed/not consumed breaks
- Fully-automated offsetting of break times with the working time account
- Possibility to evaluate all attendance data in clear reports
The flexible Workflow solution for recording break times does not only make the processes in your company more efficient, but also contributes to a fair and transparent solution to a hot topic such as smoking breaks. With our two solutions Webdesk EWP and Personalwolke, your time and attendance management won’t be smoke and mirrors anymore.