Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Smoke Breaks and Nursing Mom Breaks Not Treated the Same?!"

This issue actually has me appalled!

Let me start off with I am a former smoker (it reeks havoc on my sinuses, allergies and migraines) and I have no children.

This is not a bash on smokers; this is not a bash on moms (I wish I had kids). We have at least four pregnant women at the office now and at least three smokers. Our company had its monthly meeting and mentioned some additions to the employee handbook.

Women who want to nurse their babies for the first year, which means the whole breast pump thing, storing the milk, etc., have to be provided with accommodations to do so. Fine, I think that is the right thing to do, arrange a private place where they can do this end of subject, right? The moms have to make arrangements to take unpaid time to do this. I am told this can be done during a "normal" 15 minute break. (At a previous job my supervisor would do this two times a day, 30 minutes per session. I do not remember if she was using her lunch hour for this or not, it was ten years ago.)

I was led to believe the smokers in the office were punching in and out when they went out for a smoking break but this is not the case. I do not know if anyone abuses the paid smoking breaks or not.

To me, as long as if does not keep me from doing my job, or overly delaying getting my job done, I could care less what others are doing. I take care of myself.

We get an hour lunch break and are allowed to take a reasonable "coffee break" or two to go downstairs to get food, a little fresh air or just stretch our legs. Our office is very warm most days so the extra trips to the restroom are very welcome to get fresh air and to stretch a bit.

When I used to smoke (in high school and college) during a "work/school" day I would smoke at least 6-8 cigarettes let's say 5 minutes each break making 30-40 minutes per day.

According to this law (they say it is law, I have to look it up) if a woman wants to pump breast milk, she has to take unpaid time. Is it just me or does anyone else see a discrepancy? There is a law about time for being a mom but none over smoking breaks? Male dominated government? Tobacco industry lobbying? Other reason(s)? I am no politician but it does not compute for me. (I have to look into the specifics of this law...)

To me, if you are taking extra breaks whatever the reason, they should all be treated equally as unpaid time, should be considered part of your lunch break, or you should put in extra time to make up for the extra break(s).

My posts tend to stir up some controversy, which is great actually. I am interested in what others feel about this issue and to reiterate, I am not picking on the smokers or the moms who want to nurse. I am picking on how the law/company is treating extra break time. I know life is not fair but…

I got it! This is how unemployment gets “solved”, all the mom’s who want to nurse their children quit their jobs!

Peace, love, hugs, meryl xoxoxo

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