How much you’re paying your employees not to work

Each of your employees will work a standard 40 hours per week, unless they are part-time. However, just how much of this do they actually work? Retailer of paper cups Inn Supplies has done the sums to work out just how much non-working time you pay your employees for—and how much you pay them for it?

Being Late

Sometimes, lateness is unavoidable. However, it’s not without its costs. One 2012 study found that one late employee results in 97 minutes lost per month. Assuming an average UK salary of £27,600, employees on this pay scale earn £14.38 per hour. With this in mind, 97 minutes of lateness costs employers £23.25 in lost time per employee each month.

Building on this, 16% of employees are late every week.. This means that in a business with 50 employees, eight employees are late each week. Assuming this lateness equates to the monthly average of 97 minutes, this could cost a business around £186 each month just on employee lateness.

Employer loses: £186 per month.

Trips to the toilet

Six or seven is the average number of toilet trips we take per day. If you assume that each trip lasts four minutes and three of them will take place at work, you’ll pay your employees 96p for each toilet trip they take.

For a workforce of 50, this costs amounts to a daily cost of £144. Excluding holidays, there are 232 working days in the average year. Over this time, a company of this size can expect to spend £33,408 on toilet breaks alone.

Employer loses: £2,880 per month.

Smoking breaks

Over the course of a year, an employer spends £1,815 on a single smoking employee’s cigarette breaks. Considering that one in five British workers smoke, a company with 50 employees could shell out £18,150 over the course of the year on cigarette breaks alone.

Employer loses: £1,512.50 per month.

GP appointments

The average person visits their doctor six times per year. Each appointment lasts 10 minutes and, according to, we’ll spend 21 minutes in the waiting room. If we presume that 30 minutes will be spent travelling to and from the surgery, employees are likely to be away from their desks for an hour.

Each time your employees visit the doctors, they cost you the average hourly rate of £14.38. If three of the six annual doctor appointments take place during work time, employers with a workforce of 50 could lose £2,157 per year on doctor’s appointments alone.

Employer loses: £179.75 per month.

Mobile phones

CareerBuilder research has found that 55% of employees use their mobile phone for personal use in the workplace. Of course, it’s unknown just how much time is wasted on mobile phones. However, if we assume that 15 minutes each day is spent on mobile phones at work — be it calling, texting or using social media — employers are paying out £3.60 to each employee each day on mobile phone use.

With a team of 50, based on these findings, employers could face a cost of £100.80 each day lost through mobile phone usage. Over the course of the year, this equates to £23,386.

Employer loses: £2,016 per month.


The above will likely be an eye-opener in how much you’re actually losing through lost employee time. In total, the total cost to employers with 50 staff members is a staggering £79,333 per year, giving new meaning to the phrase time is money.