UK Coffee Week is this month and it focuses on supporting communities across the globe that grow the nation’s favourite pick-me-up.
Closer to home the coffee break has become a staple of most workplaces. Let's explore the benefits of the coffee break to employee morale and productivity. We'll even give you legal advice about the number of breaks you must allow employees each day.
The Benefits of Encouraging Regular Coffee Breaks
There are a number of benefits, including:
- Productivity: Studies have shown that drinking coffee can help reduce stress, improve staff job satisfaction and keep employees alert and focused.
- Pain Moderation: Research has shown that caffeine can actually alleviate common types of aches and pains suffered by people who have desk jobs.
- Networking: Regular breaks help foster professional relationships. It’s also a catalyst for helping people to relax and exchange opinions during networking opportunities.
Whatever your setup, one thing is clear – providing regular tea & coffee breaks can help improve the productivity of your employees. Supplying hot drinks also reduces the temptation for them to leave the office to buy a drink.
What You Must Legally Provide
Legally you must provide all employees aged over 18 who work for more than 6 hours in one shift, 1 uninterrupted 20-minute break. However, you don’t legally have to pay the employee for this rest break. As their employer, it’s at your discretion when your employees take their rest breaks.
But they should take their breaks in one go. Workers also have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, for example, if they finish work at 7pm they shouldn’t start work again until 6am the next day. In addition, workers also have the right to either an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week or an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight. However, there are some exemptions, which are:
- The armed forces, emergency services or police.
- People in a job where they freely choose what hours they work, such as when there are no set hours.
- Sea, air and road transport workers.
There are also different rules for young people above school leaving age but below 18. They are eligible for:
- A 30-minute rest break if they work more than 4.5 hours.
- Daily rest of 12 hours.
- Weekly rest of 48 hours.
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