One of our sources has sent in the following missive. Bad news for smokers as your little extra break during the day gets taken away.
Anyone think this will lead to a rise in workplace violence?
UPDATED: The Canberra Times also has the story
Message from Secretary of Dept of Industry, Tourism and Resources to their
Since becoming Secretary of the Department, I have placed an emphasis on
providing the opportunities, and the means, for employees to adopt and
develop a healthy lifestyle. This has taken the form of supportive and
facilitative measures, such as the very successful FITR program, which will
continue this year, and our reimbursement via the Healthy Lifestyle
I want to address a need that I see to strongly discourage an activity that
is adverse to a healthy lifestyle â€“ smoking. It is well known that smoking
is contributing to significant health issues for the community and I do not
believe it should be condoned in APS workplaces.
Accordingly, I think we have reached the stage where smoking during working
hours should be discouraged.
I therefore propose to ban smoking by all employees while they are on duty
apart from official meal breaks. Under this new policy, no DITR employee
would be permitted to smoke during the working day. Smoking before or
after these hours, or during the lunch period, would of course not be
covered by this policy.
While primarily directed at healthy lifestyle issues, this new policy will
also improve the professional reputation of the Department, by removing the
present situation where there are small groups of smokers standing outside
the entrances to our buildings throughout the working day.
The new policy will begin from 1 October to coincide with the Canberra move
to the new building in Binara Street. Apart from wanting to ensure that we
project a professional image of the highest quality in our new building,
the building also comes with a child care centre with an open area, in
which children of very young ages will be at play at various hours of the
day. I believe it is unacceptable to invite parents to leave children in
the child care centre, or to deliver and pick up very young children to
that child care centre from various directions around our building, and
expose those children to smoke from our employees. I therefore propose a
rule that no employee be permitted to smoke within 15 metres of any part of
the new building, or any other departmental premises at any time.
I believe these two rules (no smoking whilst on duty, and no smoking within
15 metres of any Departmental premises at any time):
â€¢ are objective and therefore easy to understand and apply –
there will be no disputes about the number or duration of smoking breaks –
there will be one simple, clear rule;
â€¢ will be a positive encouragement to those employees who do
smoke to quit, thereby offering them much better health outcomes;
â€¢ will bring to an end passive smoking in and around our
workplace, to the maximum extent that I can ensure this as Secretary of the
â€¢ will protect children in the child care centre from exposure
to passive smoking while they are in the centre and while they are
travelling to or from the centre; and
â€¢ will improve the professional image of the Department.
Of course, I cannot control the activities of members of the general public
in the public areas close to buildings. I am aware that the ACT Government
is preparing legislation to make all childcare centres smoke-free,
including the establishment of an exclusion zone around the perimeter of
During a number of discussions about this change, a frequently asked
question has been about sanctions where an employee continues to smoke post
1 October 2006. I have indicated that no new or special arrangements would
be introduced. Issues that arise will be handled in the same manner as any
other potential breach of the DITR Code of Conduct on a case by case basis.
I consider this policy to be a â€˜lawful and reasonableâ€™ direction under the
Public Service Act.
Transition to the new rules
I propose that the new rules will take full effect from 1 October 2006 the
first day upon which the Department will begin moving into the new building
in Canberra noting however the policy will apply to all DITR employees and
buildings they occupy.
Recognising that quitting smoking is not an easy task, I propose generous
transition arrangements to support staff who smoke:
â€¢ increased support for quit smoking programs and that will
continue indefinitely; together with
â€¢ a range of additional assistance measures to be made
available to all staff who smoke.
The following link to the DITR Smoke-free Workforce intranet page will take
you to details of the comprehensive assistance measures that can be
Throughout the period to October, I will be happy to receive any reasonable
proposal about how we can better assist our employees who do smoke to give
up. This could extend to providing support to spouses to also give up
The Departmentâ€™s Employee Assistance services provides general counselling.
Employees who are seeking assistance are also invited to talk through their
issue on a confidential basis with Richard Byron (02 62136213) or Kylie
Holyland (02 6213 6340), of the Human Resources Management Branch or by
I would urge employees who are smokers to take the maximum advantage of the
assistance available by taking early steps to stop smoking, so as to avoid
any possibility of difficulties down the track.