The BBC reports that the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is encouraging employers to ensure that employees take their lunch breaks after research suggested that 20% of people work through their lunch.
Failure to have breaks can potentially lead to health risks including pain arising from not varying your position enough through to more serious consequences arising from fatigue and stress.
Workers have various legal rights to rest breaks.
As a general rule anyone working more than 6 hours in a day is entitled to a 20 minute rest break away from their "work station".
There should normally be at least 11 hours between the end of one working day and the start of the next and there should usually be 1 complete day off every week.
Workers are also entitled to 5.6 weeks (which is 28 days for a full timer) paid annual holiday (which can include Bank Holidays) every year.
As these are health and safety rules derived from EU legislation employers should not simply be allowing employees to take breaks but positively ensuring that they do so. Evidence suggests that people who take proper breaks are actually more productive than those who do not so it makes sound business sense as well as avoiding the risk of potentially costs Employment Tribunal and Personal Injury claims.