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Employment Law Services Ltd

Smoking

It is illegal to smoke in an enclosed or “substantially enclosed” workplace. In England this prohibition came into effect on the 1st July 2006, in Scotland from March 2006, and Wales from April 2006. All workplaces that era open to the public – which includes other employees or workers in the same business, are subject to this restriction. This means that even if the staff are happy for their colleagues to smoke in their workplace it is still illegal. Frequently employers have allowed designated rooms to be used for that purpose –the “smoking room”. It is now ILLEGAL to have any such a place available for smoking in the workplace. Smoking is also prohibited in any company vehicle which is available to, or used by one or more employee, or is used by any member of the public.

There are obligations to display a “No Smoking” sign in work premises including vehicles. Under the Health Act 2006 it is illegal not to display the required signs. Regulations specify the minimum size and content requirements of such signs.

Regulations set out the levels of fines that can be imposed on conviction for breaking this law: the maximum fine is £1,000 for failure to display the correct sign, and £2,500 for failing to prevent smoking in a smoke free work place. Therefore employers need to ensure that all staff (full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, and agency staff) are informed of the smoking ban, and that action may be taken under the disciplinary procedure (see link PAYG Disciplinary Policy) in the event of any breach of the ban. It is advisable that employers have a specific No-smoking policy (see link PAYG No Smoking Policy) to address relevant issues as they affect their staff e.g. inside a building and/or in company vehicles.

 

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