LA STAMPA

Workers In Florence: Time For A Smoke Break? Then Punch The Clock

New rules in the Italian city could require all public workers to get docked for every time they step outside the office for a smoke.

Workers In Florence: Time For A Smoke Break? Then Punch The Clock

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Smokers working for the Florence registry office now have a new rule to follow. Any time they step out for a cigarette break, they will have to punch the time clock. The accumulated time spent smoking instead of working will therefore not be included in work hours.

Needless to say, smokers are fuming, and local union representatives have lashed out at the new regulation. "A cigarette break is a necessary moment of physical and psychological recovery for a smoker," says Stefano Cecchi, a representative of the RSU (United Union Representatives) syndicate, who has called on city officials to reverse the decision.

But Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi – a non-smoker – likes the idea. "I won't even consider changing this rule," he declared. Renzi is even planning to extend it to all of the 5,000 municipal employees. "Public service must set an example," says the mayor. "Of course, everyone is free to take a break for a coffee or a cigarette. But employees should be conscientious. They should punch the clock, go out for a fifteen-minute break and then come back. Otherwise citizens see a bad example."

Some municipal employees have said that if they are docked for the cigarette breaks, the only solution may indeed be to finally quit smoking for good.

Original article in Italian by Maria Vittoria Giannotti

Photo credit - Hello Turkey Toe

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