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Employees ‘forced to miss lunch breaks’

24 June 2011

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Employees are facing increased pressure to work longer hours and miss their lunch breaks, a new survey has suggested.

One in five workers is never able to take a lunch break, while 60% of people regularly skip them, according to a study by

The poll of 1,800 job seekers also revealed that more than half of them rarely left the office on time in their current job, with a quarter saying they felt lucky if they were able to leave on time a couple of times a month.

One in five respondents said they were unable to remember the last time they took a lunch break, although women were more likely to take regular breaks than men.

Some 46% of women said they took a lunch break everyday, compared with just 33% of men.

Men also admitted to working longer hours, with 13% leaving on time every day compared with 18% of women.

Tony Wilmot, founder of, said: “Lunch breaks are rapidly becoming a thing of the past with public and private sector organisations making cutbacks, pressure on employees is increasing.

“Therefore workers feel the need to work longer hours and ‘dine al desko’ in order to show employers their worth.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Do you struggle to find time for lunch? Or do you insist that staff take an adequate break? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Staff always get a break though I sometimes do not. We have the advantage of working in a multi-occupancy building in a very tough area so we have to be out promptly at 6pm otherwise the security guard has a hissy fit and turns into a pumpkin! So workers finish on time. I do still take work home” – Name and address withheld

“As a manager I have no problem in staff taking their lunch breaks, and that’s because they wouldn’t entertain it, nor would I. However, I am guilty of this very practice, given that I may get to take one or two lunch breaks a week, but then that’s because I use the excuse to get to the bank or post office on behalf of the surgery. In an economic climate that is seeing a ‘slash and burn’ approach to cut-backs, everyone is fearful for the future of the employment market in this country and there is far too much emphasis on ‘public money’ being saved rather than redistributed in a more effective and efficient manner. For years we have seen the evidence of public sector cut-backs as our own localities suffer from the lack of investment, education and healthcare standards deteriorate, parks and public facilities are left in ruin, streets are unclean, roads go unmaintained… can nobody in government see that if the money is better invested and spent, and corruption in local and central government is tackled head on, there would be plenty of money to use… so long as we can also get the work-shy into work to start to contribute to the tax system again!!!! Reverse the situation people and spend to create work, thus generating national income, thus generating more money to invest, to create more jobs, etc” – Andrew Thomas, South Wales