TUC: limiting lavatory breaks is penny-pinching

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The Independent Online

Union leaders are demanding that employers let their workers use the toilet whenever they need to, and are not forced to clock off in order to spend a penny.

A report by the Trades Union Congress, entitled Give Us A (Loo) Break, points out that some companies still believe that employees should answer calls of nature in their own time. Other firms plan work schedules that take no account of toilet breaks, or allow a culture to develop where using the toilet whenever necessary is frowned upon.

The report cites examples of staff having to raise their hands before they are allowed to visit the lavatory, and other companies which record the number of times staff take a much-needed "comfort break".

The TUC insists that toilet breaks are a basic human need, not a luxury, and businesses which do not provide staff toilets are breaking the law.

Frances O'Grady, the TUC deputy general secretary, said: "Employers should not be mean and penny-pinching over their employees' need to use the loo. They should trust staff and let them take a few minutes away from their work if they need to go."

The TUC began its campaign for mandatory toilet breaks in 2003.