Deputies’ two-hour lunch break could be reduced

DEPUTIES could have their two-hour lunch break reduced during States meetings in order to accommodate short mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks.

Sacc president Deputy Carl Meerveld. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 30130990)
Sacc president Deputy Carl Meerveld. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 30130990)

The suggestion is that the lunch break could be reduced to one-and-a-half hours and the issue will be discussed at this Friday’s meeting of the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee.

It follows concerns that many States members are leaving the Chamber during the speeches, including some who go for cigarette breaks, and at times the Assembly has struggled to be quorate.

Deputy Carl Meerveld, the president of Sacc, said the reality was that most deputies were still doing the job during the two-hour lunch break. ‘It’s perceived in the public’s eyes to be excessive, but the fact is that deputies are often working during those two hours. I have had numerous committee meetings during those two hours where we’ve been eating sandwiches and working for virtually the entire two hours in committee – that is a common practice in the States.

‘Those lunchtimes are often used by committees for meetings, for external groups to do presentations to States members, or committees to do presentations to States members, or for States members to get together and discuss the important issues of the day.’

‘To be able to decant from the Assembly, move to another location and convene a meeting – that can’t be done in an hour.’

With a 90-minute lunch break it should free up some time to allow for 15-minute breaks in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Deputy Meerveld said it could bring more consensus to the debates.

‘It gives deputies the ability to clear their head, stretch their legs – health and safety says you shouldn’t be sitting in one place for three hours at a time.

‘They can consult with other members, in some debates cool down the ardour, so we will be looking at that.

‘But certainly we would not bring it to the States as a proposition without consulting States members first to find out if they think it’s a good idea or not.’

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