Can the employee drink coffee during working hours? In case of tolerance, how can we avoid abuses in relation to these breaks?
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Coffee, the stimulant that (almost) every worker likes
Coffee is a powerful natural energy stimulant. That’s why drinking a cup of coffee makes your body more active. In addition, its substances increase the body’s performance, so they combat the feeling of sleepiness and persistent tiredness.
Another much celebrated characteristic of coffee is that it stimulates the central nervous system. So it helps to improve alertness, learning ability, focus and concentration.
It is therefore understandable why many people like to drink coffee before carrying out study and work tasks.
Can the employee drink coffee during working hours?
Although not provided for by law, it is a common practice for many companies and commercial establishments to grant the famous “coffee break”.
It is usually divided into two breaks, which can last from 10 to 15 minutes; They usually occur mid-morning and in the afternoon after lunch.
So it is clearly intended to be a moment of pause and also to recharge one’s energy, as the drink is a stimulant.
People who work different shifts, such as night shifts or on-call, also often have coffee breaks.
Another possibility is that, in addition to the break, companies allow their employees to make coffee and have it available to drink during working hours. Obviously, in a way that does not interfere with performance or the execution of mandatory tasks.
Does the coffee break count as a real break?
But, coffee break count as a real break? As the practice is not provided for in the CLT, each such break must be computed in the duration of the work. This is because the coffee break is considered a time at the disposal of the employer, as understood in article 4 of the CLT.
Therefore, when the employer, by liberality and choice, allows its employees to have the coffee break, it cannot deduct from the mandatory break time, which is the meal and rest break.
Why do most employers allow this coffee break?
Firstly, because in the case of Brazil, it is a habit with broad cultural roots. Thus, it is something cultivated for many centuries the custom of Brazilians to drink coffee before and during work.
Another reason that makes it easier to concede is that the drink is, in fact, a stimulant. So, it is understood that having a cup of coffee during work will not only not harm, but can boost employee productivity.
Brazilian historical reasons
The Brazilian context should also be taken into account when analyzing the practice. That’s because Brazil has been the world’s largest coffee producer for more than 150 years.
Coffee is something very relevant for Brazil’s agriculture, for the balance of trade and for the population. The habit of drinking many cups of coffee throughout the day is so common for most Brazilians that it does not seem good to stop someone from doing so.
How can we ban something that has been so widespread and so popular for so many centuries? So employers opt for a familiar and harmonious way out, which is to allow the coffee break or for employees to have coffee at their disposal.
Why do employees celebrate the coffee break?
There is also another reason for the huge popularity of the coffee break. Besides being a habit naturalized by most Brazilians, in the context of the workday, is a healthy break to relax briefly.
It is already understood by science that taking short breaks after long moments of concentration helps to boost productivity and maintain focus. The coffee break, although not intended for this purpose in itself, ends up serving this purpose as well.
Moment of socialization among colleagues
Another reason why the coffee break during working hours is celebrated is that it is a time for relaxation and interaction between colleagues.
So it is common for people to chat during this break, talk about work but also about amenities. In addition, it is a great opportunity for people working in different sectors to interact with each other.
The celebration of socialization that this short break generates is also so widespread that it has even become a synonym to understand the ‘coffee break’ as a time to chat and relax.
Offer your employees a coffee corner
It’s a nice gesture and makes a good impression on employers to set aside a corner of the company, office or establishment as a coffee space.
This is quite common in places that allow the coffee maker to be used at various times. It is a commonplace scene of a small table, which holds a thermos, jars of sugar and sweetener and a jar of cookies.
It’s not something that costs a lot from a financial point of view. From a symbolic point of view, this tolerance sounds positive because it allows the work environment to be a milder and more informal place, with possibilities for interaction.
Company not obliged to tolerate abuse
However, being liberal about the practice of coffee should not mean that the company is permissive. It is important not to tolerate abuse. Unfortunately, some people don’t know how to deal with freedom, so they may not be able to make the most of their coffee break.
As this is not something that is provided for by law, the company may draw attention to people who spend too long in the coffee break. Especially when the intention to procrastinate on work tasks is clear.
With common sense, everyone drinks coffee and is happy
Therefore, on the part of officials, common sense is essential. Without abuse, it is very easy to enjoy this informal break and have a cup of coffee during working hours without it harming the company.