CAREER: Should smokers get some of their pay docked?

This probably is going to cause MUCH controversy, but I feel I need to say that as a non-smoker, I don't think it is fair that smokers get a 10 minute smoke break every hour or so. I would like to get out side every hour and get some fresh air, chill out and then go back to work. But that is not accepted for me, or other non smokers. I would be looked upon as unfocused and inefficient. I also think I would find it to hinder my workflow and thought processes. But smokers have the excuse, and it is OK for them to take constant breaks all day.

I say this even knowing that my husband is a smoker. When I brought this up to him at dinner, I was told that smokers take this time to think and process some of their work. He claimed that in essence, they still are working. Well, I can't see that. I see people basically socializing with one another while they are taking their smoke break. Thats what I see.

From the times online: (From
“They have allowed an inform)al situation to develop where smokers nip out for a break for ten or 15 minutes, in some cases once every hour. That could add up to one hour or more a day, five hours a week, 250 hours or six weeks in a year. In some jobs, workers will just have to make up the time but in others aggrieved staff are left to cover for the smokers and employers fear they are losing productivity.”

Ok, so maybe this is too negative and unfair for smokers. After all, we have relegated them to the outside by law. I am sure some would rather smoke at their desk while working. SO maybe we take a positive spin on it and bonus non smokers? That way, it is also incentive for smokers to quit and get healthy. It awards the non smokers for being healthy, keeping insurance premiums down and being more productive-basically saving the company money in the end.


  1. My husband's company charges $15 per pay period to smokers because of the "increased costs" smokers incur for the company. What about the morbidly obese, drinker, recreational drug user ... I have no problem with incentives to be healthier but punitive measures are very unfair.

  2. Hi PoorMom! Thank you so much for stopping by and adding your feedback! Great point. I agree, I think the best way to handle this subject is to take a positive spin to it. Adding an incentive for healthy choices and be more productive while doing it as well as keep premiums for the company down is a win win for everyone. And if it inspires someone to get healthy and quit smoking -than thats a huge win!

  3. If someone consistently takes an excessive number of breaks during the day, I would expect his work day to last longer than if he didn't. If he's not putting in enough time, then his boss should probably speak to him. Wendy T

  4. I think its difficult because it's not like they want to take excessive breaks. The law now has relegated smokers outside. They are forced to. So I'm not sure how fair it is to call it out as a performance issue. But if breaks are taken to smoke, and the employee leaves on time yet work is getting missed or is not up to snuff...then it is a performance issue...not necessarily a smoking issue. Right? I see both sides, I guess. But if you add up all the breaks over a week, the pto (technically) adds up... And thats not fair either. Its hard. Thnks for stopping by and commenting!


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