Toilet break policy doesn't hold water with staff...

A red-faced boss has apologised after accidentally circulating a memo telling workers they were not allowed to go to the toilet during work time.The note infuriated about 70 staff in the workwear section of Fakenham Laundry by apparently laying down the law about when they could spend a penny.

A red-faced boss has apologised after accidentally circulating a memo telling workers they were not allowed to go to the toilet during work time.

The note infuriated about 70 staff in the workwear section of Fakenham Laundry by apparently laying down the law about when they could spend a penny.

The memo says: 'There is no specific law which specifically gives employees the right to take time off work to go to the lavatory. If you have to use the lavatory outside rest breaks, ie for medical reasons, this must be done under the authority of a supervisor.'

But production manager Lee Regester said the draconian policy was never agreed by company owners Sunlight Services, and should never have reached the factory floor.


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Instead, it was simply a draft idea to tackle a reported problem of individuals wasting time in the cubicles and extending their break times when they should have been working.

'I had a meeting with the other managers on Thursday and from that we all wrote down our idea about how we could address the problem,' said Mr Regester.

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'I left mine on my desk and someone has photocopied it and issued it without asking. It has quite rightly put people's backs up.

'Of course, it is not company policy to dictate when staff go to the toilet - it is against our core values.

'The memo should not have gone out. It was not signed and was only a draft. There will be another memo going out to staff apologising for the confusion this has caused.'

Mr Regester said offenders who had been heard spending up to 15 minutes either side of their lunch breaks on mobile phones in the Holt Road building's toilets would now be spoken to individually.

After receiving the memo one incredulous member of staff, who did not wish to be named, said: 'We could not believe it - we thought it was a joke at first.

'It doesn't matter if you have a medical reason or not. If you need to go, you need to go - not get a supervisor to hold your hand. You might as well be back in nursery school.'

A spokesman for the GMB workers' union said: 'Unfortunately there are some managers in Britain who seem obsessed by this issue and go to incredible lengths to control how much time people spend away from their workplaces in the toilets.

'We have had cases where people lose money if they exceed the amount of time they spend in the toilet, but this case takes the biscuit.'

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