Employees in Uddevalla are best advised to kick the habit fast. Otherwise the time they spend puffing will be deducted from their wages. The municipality, which employs between 500 and 600 office workers at its local government offices, only permits smoking at lunch time and during the two daily coffee breaks.
In future smokers will be forced to clock out whenever they feel the need for a nicotine kick.
“Previously smokers stole working time,” Uddevalla municipality’s personnel manager Håkan Kragnert told Göteborgs-Posten.
But Kragnert does not intend to stand for it any more.
“If there is time missing at the end they will have their wages reduced,” he said.
The local council has an incentive scheme in policy to help workers who want to quit. If an employee has managed to stay off cigarettes for six months the municipality will contribute 1,500 kronor towards the cost of nicotine tablets.
And now that the EU has decided that discrimination against smokers is fully acceptable those who elect to keep up the habit will see their wages increase at a slower rate than non-smokers.
“I understand that smokers may feel hounded,” said municipal manager Günther Hähnert. “But smokers are absent more often, and I know that a lot of people smoke when they are supposed to be working. That should have an effect their wages.”
Not everybody is happy with the new policy. Aftonbladet reports that Håkan Kragnert received an SMS from an untraceable number yesterday containing a single word: “Pig”.