Cigarette Breaks – 8 Facts Employers Need to Know


27 Nov 2017


For many employers the law can seem a bit unclear as to the length and frequency of smoking breaks that employees are entitled to. As an employer you are also obliged to abide by the smoking legislation, which could result in an expensive fine if not followed to the letter.

To help employers establish robust policies and procedures for smoking breaks, as well as ensuring compliancy with the smoking legislation, Croner’s experts have put together this simple guide.

Cigarette Breaks Infographic

Add this infographic to your website by copying and pasting the following embed code:

<div style="clear:both"><a href=""><img src="" title="Cigarette Breaks – 8 Facts Employers Need to Know" alt="Cigarette Breaks Infographic" border="0"></a></div><div>Courtesy of: <a href="">Croner</a>.</div>

Ciggie Time: 8 Facts for Employers

Fact 1: There is no statutory right to 'smoking breaks'. But employees are legally permitted to one 'rest break' while at work - this can be for anything from a tea break, to a lunch break, as well as a cigarette break. The break must be at least 20 minutes long, as long as your employee has worked six hours or more that day. As an employer you can offer additional breaks, which should be included in your employees’ contract or handbook.

Fact 2: As an employer you are not legally obliged to pay for break times and whether you do is at your discretion. You should detail your arrangements in your terms of employment.

Fact 3: Smoking is forbidden within workplace premises, however organisations are allowed to have 'smoking areas'. If you provide a smoking shelter for your employees it must comply with the associated legislation. If your employees do smoke in your workplace they could be fined up to £200 (or up to £50 in Scotland). Businesses which do not stop people from smoking in the workplace can be fined up to £2,500.

Fact 4: As an employer you must display ‘no smoking’ signs in all workplaces and vehicles. If you are an employer in Wales the signs must be in both Welsh and English. If you do not display ‘no smoking’ signs your business could be fined £1,000.

Fact 5: Vaping falls outside of the Smoke Free Legislation, as the act of smoking requires a substance to be burnt. As a result it is up to you, as the employer, whether you choose to allow or ban e-cigarettes, and similar products, in the workplace.

Fact 6: If a work vehicle is used by more than one person then smoking is prohibited within the vehicle. This is regardless of whether your employees are in the vehicle at the same time. Smoke-free vehicles must display a no-smoking sign in each part of the vehicle in which people can travel.

Fact 7: If your employees work from home and there is more than one person, who doesn't live on site, who uses part of the dwelling solely as a place of work - that part must be smoke-free. It must also be smoke-free if members of the public attend to deliver or receive goods or services.

Fact 8: Residential care homes and hospices can offer smoking rooms, but these can only be used by residents. These rooms must be well ventilated and smoke must not get into other rooms. There does, however, remain a ban on staff and visitors smoking within the Care Home and therefore a suitable outdoor area should be designated. The legislation does not cover domiciliary care, where care is provided in a private home, in these circumstances Company policy should provide guidance to carers to ensure service users are allowed to follow a preferred lifestyle, but safeguards the health of everyone that does not smoke or does not want to breathe the smoke of others.

We’re here to help

Croner are one of the most experienced and respected HR specialists in the business and offer a range of services and support designed to improve efficiency, protect your business and ensure compliance.

For expert support with sourcing and building your business’ HR policies and procedures contact Croner on 0808 145 3490.

Free to Download Employer Resources

  • Pay Awards & Forecast (September 2018)


    Pay Awards & Forecast (September 2018...

    Read Croner Reward's expert settlement and forecast report for September 2018

    Read more
  • Sample Health & Safety Policy Statement


    Sample Health & Safety Policy Stateme...

    Here we’ve included a free sample Health & Safety Policy Statement that UK business owners can refer to.

    Read more
  • Pay Awards & Forecast (June 2018)


    Pay Awards & Forecast (June 2018)

    Read Croner Reward's expert Settlements and Forecasts report for June 2018

    Read more
  • Holiday entitlement - everything you need to know


    Holiday entitlement - everything you ...

    The annual employee holiday entitlement in the UK is 5.6 weeks. This figure is t...

    Read more
  • What is the best way for your employees to clock in and out of work?


    What is the best way for your employe...

    Clocking in and out of work may be a necessity for your workplace, but it can al...

    Read more
  • How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost Your Business?


    How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost ...

    A recent Glassdoor survey revealed that almost 35% of hiring professionals expec...

    Read more
  • bemrose-school-derby


    Bemrose School Derby

    “Having Croner-i saves us a lot of time and money, as we do not have to use cred

    Read more
  • wmtr



    “I’d definitely recommend the Croner OnSite services and I have done already, I

    Read more
  • certikin



    “Our Distribution Manager had a particularly technical query relating to respira

    Read more

Ready to focus on what you do best?

Get your free consultation and speak to an expert today.