My employer has recently said that I MUST take lunch, at 30 minutes minimum. Is there anything I can do to fight this without losing my job?
They cite "burnout" as the reason. I smoke (please avoid the hate comments), and I have 10 minute breaks three times a day for a total of 30 minutes unpaid already, does their argument still stand?
I've been working as a programmer for six years now, and I've been a hobbyist for well over 10 years. I "work" constantly, I work on home projects as I do professional projects, I spend sometimes 14 hours a day programming for weeks on end. This has been my "natural state" for that entire time. I do not "burnout". Indeed, I've been given pay rises on a frequent basis based on performance.
I feel the extra time I would have to give to the company is totally unjust and doesn't take into account the kind of worker I am.
The law says they can basically do what they want to me, if they enforced it, I'm effectively working through lunch because I don't want to be in the place the work place is, so it's not "free time" then is it. I'm still at their disposal. Indeed, I'm pretty much forced to stay in the same chair because there's nothing else to do.
Is there any action I can take where I assert I don't need a lunch break? AND be able to do that without offending the HR department?
EDIT: I'm not looking to get into an argument about "You should just take the break ffs", I want a real suggestion of how I can handle this situation to achieve the result I'm after.
EDIT 2: I understand that people with my "work through lunch" ethic are not the norm. If I was really to pursue this, it could in fact damage the other members of my team by highlighting that they could also skip lunch, which for them could be very detrimental if they were to choose to do so. For the purposes of this question only, I'm going to take the selfish route and insist I want the time back.
EDIT 3: I'd like to try and explain why I feel so strongly about this measly 30minutes a day. I'm awake for 16 hours a day and I value every second. I believe I'm a slave and have done for years, work is a means to survive, not a means to feel fulfilled. You're working for other people's causes, which may even directly against your own personal beliefs. My own time is the only place I can be myself, and I feel like I'm having my life taken from me while I sit there and watch it happen. I know this won't chime with a lot of you, but this is what I believe. Every second they "expect" from me feels like they've taken a part of my soul, not to mention if they say "Oh, and we're not going to compensate you for this portion of your time, either" it's going to really make me want to fight it. I'm sure in ten or more years time when I've got the wisdom to start my own business I'll see this massively differently, but right now, I want to give the time I signed up for, 37.5 hours a week. No more!