Employers urged to give staff paid time off to help quit smoking

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has urged employers to allow staff paid time off to allow them to attend sessions on stopping smoking during working hours.

This was just one of the recommendations for employers published in its Workplace health promotion: how to help employees stop smoking document yesterday. Other measures include: providing information on local stop smoking services; supplying nicotine patches or offering quit smoking services in the workplace itself.

Although employers are not legally obliged to help employees stop smoking, the guidelines state†it is in their best interest to do so in preparation for the smoking ban that comes into effect in England†on 1 July.

By helping staff to†give up smoking, employers reduce the risk of non-compliance with the law and stand to†improve their employees’ health. Employers will also†benefit from reduced sickness absence and increased productivity. This will also help to†reduce the estimated £5bn smoking cost to†industry as a result of lost productivity; absenteeism and fire damage.