Under the smoke-free legislation, can employers provide smoking shelters for their employees?

The smoke-free legislation does not require employers to provide smoking shelters or any other outside area for their employees to smoke. If an employer wishes to provide a smoking shelter, it is important for it to ensure that the shelter complies with the legislation, in that less than 50% of the total wall area is enclosed. Employers should also contact their local council to check if any proposed shelter will require planning consent. If an employer's premises are licensed to sell alcohol, a variation to the licensing agreement may be necessary. Employers should also consider if smokers gathering together in a smoking shelter are likely to cause a noise nuisance to local residents, and how they will deal with the smoking-related litter. Smoking shelters must be compliant with the disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010.