What to Include in Your Business’s Smoking Policy

Apr 29, 2021
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Mahima Bhindi

What is a smoking policy?

A smoking policy is a document that provides your employees with guidelines as to smoking. It enables them to see what smoking practices are prohibited. Further, the purpose of a smoking policy is to ensure that the health of those who do not smoke is not adversely impacted. Therefore, a smoking policy protects employee rights to smoke or not to smoke while providing guidelines for everyone to follow.

What should a smoking policy include?

So, now that you know your business should have a smoking policy, what does it need to include?

Purpose

The document needs to state what the purpose of the policy is. This can be a simple description of what the smoking policy aims to provide. By doing this, it enables employees to seek further clarification if they need to.

Who it applies to

Make sure the policy clearly states who it applies to. This avoids any confusion or doubt as to whether certain people who enter the workplace such as visitors must adhere to the policy as well. Further, if an employee is coming in on a day off, they should know they are still bound by these rules.

Expectations

Here is where you can list what your expectations are of the employees and any other staff that are in the workplace. You would want to avoid ambiguity and keep it as clear and succinct as possible. This would mean a detailed list or brief paragraphs explaining what is expected of employees in relation to adhering to the rules as well as their smoking practices. This can include whether employees can smoke on their breaks and even the expectations the employer is fulfilling, such as communicating the policy in an effective manner. An employee should be able to contact their human resources department to file a complaint or discuss any other issues.

Designated areas

Providing a list of areas where employees can smoke is essential. These employees feel respected and their freedoms are not imposed on. Further, this helps those employees who do not smoke to avoid those certain areas by outlining designated spots. Additionally, the likelihood of being impacted by second-hand smoking is reduced.

Legal obligations

Your business’ smoking policy needs to be current with Australian legislation such as Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW). This ensures that the business is following legal restrictions alongside implementing their own policies surrounding workplace smoking. Further, this helps in protecting the health and safety of all workers including those who may be impacted by second-hand smoking.

Compliance

Once you have your document set up, what happens in the event that an employee breaches any of the rules? It is important to establish what the consequences of not following the policy are. If you establish what these consequences are beforehand, then employees will have an incentive to follow the smoking procedures in the policy. It is ultimately up to you what your best course of action will be, however it is important to remember that there are laws which have penalties too which range from warnings to fines.

Concluding thoughts

The importance of a smoking policy is to provide employees with guidance and set expectations for smoking while at work. Additionally, it protects those who do not smoke from the effects of second-hand smoking. Furthermore, it promotes a fair workplace for everyone. For more information on other workplace policies you may need, click here. Alternatively, contact one of our Lawpath lawyers today to help you create your own business’ smoking policy.

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