Employees skip lunch breaks

Almost two thirds of employees say they are unable to take their daily statutory lunch break, according to research by healthcare specialists Bupa.

The survey of 2,000 employees reveals that 64% of workers are not always able to take the legally required minimum break every day.

All employees are entitled to a minimum 20 minute break during the day if they work for more than 6 hours.

The study also found:

  • just 29% of employees take an hour off for lunch
  • 28% don’t stop for a break at all during the day.

Of those who do stop for lunch breaks:

  • 45% don’t usually leave the workplace
  • 31% tend to eat lunch at their desk
  • 42% answer work calls and 40% reply to emails during lunch.

Despite not taking advantage of lunch breaks, staff still see them as important in maintaining their health and wellbeing:

  • more than half (52%) said skipping their lunch break puts them in a bad mood
  • 4 in 10 believe they’re less productive in the afternoon if they don’t take a break
  • 3 in 10 say they have felt ill after missing a lunch break.

Patrick Watt, corporate director at Bupa, called on employers to encourage employees to take breaks at work:

“It’s worrying that some employers are not encouraging their staff to take time out of the working day to relax and recharge. Not only does this affect productivity levels, but it can have far wider implications on business performance.

“Taking a proper break helps employees to stay alert, focused, and performing at their peak.

“Employers should start 2015 as they mean to go on by recognising the importance of taking breaks, leading by example and not letting breaks fall by the wayside.”

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