Nottinghamshire County Council has announced plans for a ban on employees taking smoking breaks during work time.
We ask do workers have a right to take a break for a cigarette?
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Nottinghamshire County Council has insisted plans to ban smoking breaks are part of its desire to be a 'supportive employer' and that they have a 'duty of care' to the people that work for them.
Here is their full statement:
“Smoking is still public health’s number one enemy. Nottinghamshire County Council, along with a number of other partners, has signed the Nottinghamshire and Nottingham Tobacco Declaration that commits us to take action against tobacco which in turn improves the health of our staff."
“We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire."
“If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to. With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services. If they don’t want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."
"We want to support staff by encouraging them to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy at work. The cost of Nicotine Replacement Therapy is cheaper than cigarettes so we are not asking staff to spend more money than usual."
“National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems."
“Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers.”
Smoking breaks will be banned for thousands of council employees under new proposals.
Nottinghamshire County Council has said its 9,000 employees will be barred from smoking during work time with the ban extending to e-cigarettes, in the mooted plans.
Anyone who fails to stick to the rules could face internal disciplinary action.
The local authority said the ban, to include all council buildings, land and vehicles, was aimed at boosting its workers' health, increasing time spent working and reducing levels of sick leave.
But the largest public sector union Unison has said the stringent rules will be unenforceable and has urged the council to support smokers in quitting rather than haul wayward employees into disciplinary meetings.
The council's deputy director of public health John Tomlinson said smoking was still "public health's number one enemy" and the local authority had committed itself to action.
"We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire.
"If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to.
"With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services.
"If they don't want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."
The council has said it will encourage staff to use alternatives like nicotine patches to kick their habit, arguing the cost to its staff would be cheaper than a packet of cigarettes.
"National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems.
"Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers."
The council has about 9,000 employees across all its departments, excluding teachers.
Employees get a short morning and afternoon break, but no smoking will be allowed during these periods under any ban.
Smoking will be allowed during lunch breaks but not in uniform or anywhere near council property, according to the union, Unison.
"We're supportive of public health and we haven't got a stance on this, but we are balloting members asking whether they would be for or against.
"I don't see yet how they could enforce it. Say you work in highways, if you want to smoke, you need to take all your uniform off and go as far away from site as possible and have a cigarette and then come back.
"You're not going to be able to smoke in your uniform, or if you're standing outside your council workplace or are wearing a council badge or lanyard.
"If you're in the parks department, you won't be able to - even when you're outside.
"If anybody goes out on council business and drives their own car, they won't be able to smoke."
Unions will discuss the proposals with the council in the autumn, with the ban expected to come into force early next year.
Nottinghamshire community archaeologists are investigating whether there may be the remains of another medieval mill at Rufford Abbey - built by the monks there in the past to serve their estate.
The archaeologists are exploring the area around an apparently ornamental ruin at the end of the Orangery garden.
Councillor John Knight at Nottinghamshire County Council says Rufford Abbey has a "fascinating history" and that "the purpose of these small-scale excavations is to assess the condition of the buried remains so that we can get an understanding of how much more we might still be able to learn from the archaeology here."
"A thousand years of history and stories lie beneath the country park; from monastic worship and industry, to one of the most intriguing grand houses in the county."
For many young people living in care, the opportunity of finding a home with a foster family can give them much-needed stability and support.
But one council in the East Midlands says it is struggling to find foster homes for older children and groups of siblings.
Nottinghamshire County Council says there is a growing demand, with more than eight hundred children in need, and it is appealing for new carers to come forward.
Cllr Alan Rhodes, Leader of the Council, apologises for the cuts and says he's angry that he's being forced to take so much funding out of his budget. Pete Watson from Unison says the cuts will hit the most vulnerable.
In the last few hours, more than £80 million of cuts has been approved by Nottinghamshire County Council.
Trade union members had been campaigning for the cuts to be pushed back 12 months, saying they attacked Nottinghamshire's most vulnerable people.
The changes will come into effect in April.
Council say they have had to make many difficult decisions over which services to cut.Read the full story ›
From day one of our budget consultation we’ve been open and honest about the appalling financial constraints being imposed on the Council and I think that people are generally understanding about the position we’ve been put in.
I'm grateful to the people of Nottinghamshire for their incredible response to our consultation. The message that came back loud and clear was that we should do everything we can to protect services to vulnerable people. The proposed changes reflect those views, albeit within the overall constraints we are working under.
Nottinghamshire County Council has unveiled its final budget. The Council has announced plans which will reduce its spending by £83m over the next three years.
£57m of which will be reinvested to meet on-going demand for services to care for the elderly and protect vulnerable children.
The Council is proposing a budget which puts vulnerable people first and delivers fairness in difficult times.