Paid coffee breaks under threat in Spain

We like to keep our eye on coffee news worldwide, and, this story reached us from Spain. Many Spanish employees have a late-morning ritual of leaving the office and meeting colleagues for a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Although they’re not paid for this break specifically, employees have been able to take advantage of up to two hours of paid breaks a day, whatever they want to use it for.

Now, a new law has been introduced that ironically aimed to protect working hours. The Socialist government now requires employers to clock their staff in and out in an effort to prevent them trying to make employees work unpaid overtime. An unintended consequence for the workers, though, is that now employers have the option not to count coffee breaks, smoking breaks or other downtime as part of the paid working day, as has been the case so far.

Spaniards are believed to work around a staggering 2.6 million hours of unpaid overtime a week, so the new legislation would offer them better protection. Unions have on the whole welcomed the new move, but are believed to be looking at options for monitoring how much time at work is actually spent working. The government have suggested trying to differentiate between time spent working and time on breaks which should be unpaid. It’s worth mentioning that the breaks in question are not statuary legal breaks but voluntary breaks for meals or a quick coffee. The new proposal may see workers required to clock in and out whenever they leave their desks, so that they don’t exceed a total break time.

While it’s important for productivity that employees don’t regularly exceed their break times, spending a few minutes stretching your legs and grabbing a coffee can help re-focus the mind and boosting performance. From our point of view, the ideal solution would seem to be installing a coffee machine in the office!

Here at the Wholesale Coffee Company, we’ve got all your commercial coffee supplies covered. Visit our main website to browse our selection of coffee beans and accessories for your coffee business.