More and more employers in Denmark have in recent years introduced rules on smoke-free working hours.
According to Danish TV 2, a number of workplaces have maintained these guidelines during the corona pandemic – also for those with a home office. Last in line is the municipality of Gentofte on Skjælland.
It appears in a minute from a meeting of the municipal council. According to Magisterbladet, it is stated that employees are not allowed to smoke during working hours – neither indoors, outdoors, in the home office nor during the journey between different workplaces.
Violations will have consequences
Violations of the rules will, according to the website, be dealt with with “employment law sanctions”.
It is somewhat unclear how the municipality should follow the employees’ smoking habits in their own homes, but the municipal council points out that this should be checked “in the same way as other guidelines for behavior during working hours”.
Several employee representatives are said to have reacted strongly to the new guidelines, and believe they are interfering with privacy. However, no exception was introduced for the municipality’s home clerks.
When asked by Magisterbladet whether it is problematic to introduce rules for what people can do in their own homes, Helene Rasmussen, director of social and health administration, answers:
– That is not what we introduce rules for. We introduce rules for working hours. So in the hours you get paid by us, you do not smoke – regardless of whether you work from home or are on the road.
Gets harsh criticism
The employee organization HK Kommunal reacts strongly to the new guidelines, and the way they were introduced.
– What do you want with a rule that you can not enforce without violating privacy? It is a purely symbolic personnel policy, says deputy chairman Mads Samsing to TV 2.
He believes that a possible decision should have been negotiated and formulated in collaboration between managers and employees in the municipality.
Director Helene Rasmussen has not responded to the channel’s inquiries regarding the criticism from HK Kommunal.
A number of municipalities have already done as Gentoft, and introduced rules against smoking during working hours – also outside the workplace. Figures from the Danish Cancer Society show that a total of 51 of 98 municipalities have rules on smoke-free working hours, and according to TV 2, another seven municipalities have notified similar measures.