Give Canadian Workers the Right to Bathroom Breaks
Workers shouldn’t have to keep holding it on shift, regardless of what the law says
Opinions / February 25, 2020
Technically speaking, Canadian employees are not entitled to bathroom breaks.
All employers are legally required to give their employees 30-minutes of unpaid break time. However, since our bodies are unpredictable, you may not be able to go to the bathroom during that period.
Basically, if you have to drop a deuce before or after the break, you’re hooped.
As someone who’s had to work in a busy restaurant with a woefully unskilled manager who barely even trained me, I know the pain of being denied a chance to use the washroom. The restaurant I was working in was criminally understaffed, but to have a basic necessity ripped away from me was torturous.
Bathroom breaks are essential. It’s that simple. Employees deserve some time to relieve themselves. Period.
Now, when an employee is frequently using the bathroom as an excuse to dodge work, that’s a very obvious problem that warrants disciplinary action by the management. But when a person seriously does have to use the washroom, running the risk of embarrassing themselves while in the presence of potential future customers isn’t a good look.
To deny someone their right to use the bathroom when the urgency is great enough should be considered a violation of basic human rights and needs.
Taking bathroom breaks is an important part of dodging messy situations as well as a major health concern. Those who hold it for too long could suffer from a urinary tract infection, kidney problems, and other illnesses, for example.
Another thing to keep in mind is mental health. Employees give their best output when they aren’t working under stress and desperation. When you have to go, and the management is preventing you from doing so, you’re bound to get cranky and risk losing your temper. If you work in retail, this problem could affect your ability to provide customer experience drastically.
Bathroom breaks are vital to an employee’s wellbeing. If companies want to stay in business and maintain a reliable workforce, they better take care of their workers. That’s not to say that the management must cater to an employee’s every desire, but by acknowledging what they need in order to work to the best of their ability, employers can more easily avoid creating a workspace which unfairly punishes people for needing to use the washroom.