Workplace cracks down on toilet breaks

19th of August 2014
Workplace cracks down on toilet breaks

The management of a US company has been criticised for allegedly disciplining its workers for 'excessive use' of the toilet during working hours.

According to the workers' union, WaterSaver Faucet in Chicago is capping the time that employees spend in the washroom at six minutes a day.

"The company has spreadsheets on every union employee and how long they spend in the bathroom,' said representative of Teamsters Local 743 union Nick Kreitman, "There have been meetings with workers and human resources where the workers had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom."

The problem arose after sink manufacturer WaterSaver installed swipe card systems on toilets on a different floor to the factory itself. The company's CEO Steve Kersten says the company gives employees daily breaks totaling one hour and adds that staff should use the bathroom during those times where possible.

And he claims that 120 working hours were lost in one month because of toilet breaks. "No one is stopped from going to the bathroom," he said. "But our supposition is that some of the behaviour is related to cell phones and texting... although I have no hard evidence." Mobile phones are banned on the factory floor at WaterSaver.

The company's human resources department defines "excessive use" of the bathroom as 60 minutes or more per employee per 10 working days. This equates to just six minutes a day.

To encourage employees not to use the toilets during work hours, the company has created a rewards system. Staff can earn up to a dollar per day in gift cards if they avoid using the toilet outside official breaks.


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