Should Spanish workers have pay deducted for coffee and cigarette breaks? | Euronews

Spain’s High Court has ruled in favour of a company that began deducting time for employees who took breaks for coffee and cigarettes.

Source: Should Spanish workers have pay deducted for coffee and cigarette breaks? | Euronews

4 thoughts on “Should Spanish workers have pay deducted for coffee and cigarette breaks? | Euronews

  1. Not a simple question to answer, for is a coffee or cigarette break productive time or non-productive time? The answer being, it depends on the employees occupation, however, I do feel in most occupations these breaks are non-productive.

    But for an employee to be work productive some form of breaks need to be incorporated into the working day, otherwise exhaustion could be the outcome, say a lunch or other mealtime break, be they paid or unpaid. However, breaks should be equalised, in that all employees should be entitled to take breaks, not just smokers or coffee drinkers.

    It would be wrong for some employees to take breaks, while others are not allowed.


  2. I think it comes down to what the policies are. If the company has only started this when people have already been working there then it could be seen as breach of contract. Surely aswell but denying staff who heavily smoke their smoke breaks would lead to unproductive workers as they would go through cravings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a point regarding cravings and in this the employer should be actively encouraging these employees to undergo quit smoking practices.

      Not sure what Spanish law is, but I would be very surprised if smoking breaks were actually incorporated into the Contracts of Employment, as this would be discriminatory in respect of non-smokers.

      Of course, before places of employment were deemed to be smoking free, smokers believed it was their right to light up as and when they wished, without any concern for their non-smoking colleagues or innocent members of the public.

      Re the Spanish High Court decision, this would seem to be a middle road outcome, as it is better than making smoking breaks unlawful. As a smoking break is not a Right, unless it is in the Contract of Employment, then deducting earnings would appear to be completely reasonable, for what would be the case re a chain smoking, would they ever be working?

      As lunch breaks have to be granted when working more than six hours, then these breaks should be more than reasonable for smokers to use part of it to smoke.


      • One organisation I worked for, I split up my lunch break so that I could take part of it as lunch break and the rest in smoke breaks.


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