Japanese employee docked a half day’s pay for taking lunch break three minutes early

Bento lunch break

Something for the weekend: A 64-year-old Japanese employee has been docked half a day’s pay for taking his lunch break three minutes early on 26 occasions in order to buy a takeaway bento.

The employee, who works as a civil servant for the waterworks bureau in Kobe, Japan, was reprimanded and fined a half day’s pay after a senior employee spied the illicit lunch-taker leaving the office to buy a takeaway meal at a nearby restaurant, according to a report by The Guardian and Agence France-Presse.

Senior management then calculated how much time the employee had spent away from his desk prior to the designated lunch break between 12pm and 1pm. This totalled three extra minutes on 26 separate occasions, which equates to half a day of the employee’s average pay.

The organisation hosted a televised news conference to apologise for the employee’s conduct, stating that the employee in question had violated a public service law that requires officials to concentrate on their jobs. The organisation further described the extra lunchtime minutes as “deeply regrettable”, according to The Guardian.

The employee reportedly explained his actions by saying that he needed a change of pace.

Here at Employee Benefits, we are surprised by such strict lunchtime regulation. We wonder what the waterworks bureau would think of our afternoon coffee runs… cappuccino anyone?