Work Information: Can employees be discounted for smoking or coffee breaks?

Work Information: Can employees be discounted for smoking or coffee breaks?

The Social Chamber of the National Court has supported the idea that companies should sign up their workers when they take breaks to smoke or have coffee or breakfast, with the aim of deducting this time from the hours actually worked.


The technical criteria used by labour inspectors to verify the obligation of companies to record their workers’ working hours on a daily basis indicate that “it shall not be expressly required to record interruptions or breaks between the start and end of the daily working day that are not in the nature of effective working time”. However, the instruction specifies that “it would be appropriate” for the employer to record this type of break, because “otherwise it could be assumed” that effective working time “is all that passes between the start and end time of the working day recorded”. Moreover, this guide insists that “it is up to the employer to prove” that there have been breaks and all the hours recorded are not effective working time.

Judgment of the Social Chamber of the National Court

SAN 144-2019

 



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