Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Auto Aftermarket e-Zine - Mar 13 Contents 98 AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET MAGAZINE MARCH 2013
Each state and territory has their own
laws that regulate where people can and
cannot smoke in the community and in
The greatest direct impact on the
workplace is the excessive number of
smoking breaks taken by some smokers
throughout the day.
Resentment is common among co-
workers where smokers are regularly
outside smoking while they are required to
continue to work.
As an employer you have the final say
on whether or not you are willing to
accommodate the needs of individual
Some smokers believe that their
smoking addiction amounts to a disability
and as such allowances should be made for
However, the fact that it is a physical
and psychological health issue that can be
successfully addressed does counter this
AAAA Employer Assist recommends all
workplaces introduce a smoke-free
workplace policy (i.e. no smoking on-site)
for reasons including loss of revenue.
Heavy smokers who take five to ten
minute smoking breaks every hour cost the
business time and money, even if they are
just ducking outside to the designated
Smoking areas also become popular
meeting places for smokers encouraging a
tacit acceptance of smoking which is
broadly known to have significant health
The effects of first and second hand
(passive) smoke are well-documented.
Longterm exposure to first and second
hand smoke can trigger asthma attacks,
heart disease and lung cancer.
Under work health and safety
legislation, employers have an obligation to
ensure the health, safety and welfare of all
employees in their workplace.
There are legal precedents whereby
employees have suffered passive smoking-
related illness as a result of exposure to
second hand smoke at work and the
employer was found liable.
In that case, the employee was awarded
Implementing a smoke-free workplace policy
Employers are not required to make
special allowances for smokers.
AAAA members should consider
introducing a smoke-free workplace policy
to deal with smoking at work -- outlining
details such as:
• the location of off-site smoking areas
• the company's position on smoking
breaks (meal and rest breaks only) and
• enforcement and disciplinary procedures
for breaches of the policy.
Smokers can be directed off the
company premises where employees must
walk some distance away from the
workplace to smoke.
While footpath areas at the front of
premises are public property you can also
direct staff that it is not your preference
that they smoke on the footpath area out
the front of the premises.
Employers can prohibit employees from
smoking in company vehicles.
The policy should also encourage
employees to lodge complaints about non-
compliance with the policy, in the same way
an employee would lodge any other
grievance in their workplace.
This can be done in confidence, if the
The key message that should be
communicated to your smoking employees
is that smoking is not in their or the
business's best interests and as such you
do not support smoking in the workplace.
Many employers contact Quit and seek
their assistance with advice for employees
to assist them to quit in line with the
introduction of the smoke-free workplace
What if they choose not to quit?
Employees should be encouraged and
supported to kick the habit, but if they
won't there are some guidelines on how
best to manage smokers in your workplace.
Most awards or enterprise agreements
set out the breaks or rest pauses that
employees are entitled to.
Employers could consider allowing
employees to split a ten minute break into
two separate breaks or reducing their lunch
breaks to no less than half an hour or
increase the length of the workday to allow
for additional smoking breaks throughout
Employers have the right to, and should,
negotiate smoking breaks with smoking
employees, particularly with heavy smokers.
It is best to draft a letter with the
signatures of both parties detailing the
arrangements that have been agreed to and
place the letter on the employee's personnel
file.If a designated smoking area is required
in your workplace it should be away from
flammable or explosive substances and
cannot be inside buildings or other
enclosed workspaces under any
INTRODUCING A SMOKE FREE
WORKPLACE IN YOUR BUSINESS
Smoking in the workplace has a negative impact on workplace productivity via both the time taken out of the workplace
to smoke and via direct and indirect health consequences.
AAAA Employer Assist can assist you through the disciplinary process, including
performance management planning, performance improvement options or drafting of
workplace policies. Developing structured workplace policies educates the workforce
on employment procedures but more importantly ensures you and your management
team are meeting your performance management obligations as per the Fair Work Act
2009 (Cth). Just call for an obligation free discussion if (or when) performance
management or disciplinary issues arise within your workplace.
For further assistance with any staffing related enquiry, contact the AAAA Employer
Assist team on 1300 735 306.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Gwen McIlroy and the AAAA Employer Assist team.
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