It is now legal to have lunch in your office or open plan

Few employees know it, but eating at your desk is illegal. But since the closure of catering areas, it is more and more frequent to see people opening their “lunch box” in front of the computer.

A decree relaxing the regulations on meal breaks in companies appeared on Sunday February 14 in the Official Journal. Objective: to allow “Temporarily” employees to have their lunch in premises dedicated to work, in order to limit the risks of contamination by variants of the coronavirus.

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This modification is possible from this Monday February 15 in companies with more than 50 people, if the usual catering room “Does not guarantee compliance with the physical distancing rules defined as part of the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic”. The decree will remain effective until “Six months following the end of the state of health emergency” can we read on Légifrance.

New catering areas

The employer will not necessarily allow his employees to eat in front of their computer or at their workstation. But he can “Provide one or more other locations” catering, which may be “Inside the premises assigned to work” and be less well equipped than the usual canteen.

These new locations, which must protect the health and safety of employees, cannot be located “In premises whose activity involves the use or storage of hazardous substances or mixtures”.

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In establishments with less than 50 employees, a derogation was already in force since December 31, 2019. The decree makes it possible to generalize this measure. Employers will be able to set up ” one or more “ new catering locations, if the usual place “Does not guarantee compliance with the rules of physical distancing”.

This announcement is one of the consequences of the strengthening of the health protocol in companies at the end of January. To effectively fight against the spread of the virus and its variants, it now provides for a distance of two meters between two people when the mask cannot be worn, including in collective catering areas.

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