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Keeping Your Workforce Happy When Temperatures Rise

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Suddenly it feels like Summertime or should we say ‘heatwave’ with temperatures throughout the UK rising and the 1st July 2015 being the hottest on record so far. High temperatures may be wonderful on the beaches, or in the garden, but they can lead to problems in the workplace.

There is no maximum workplace temperature.  Instead the law says that  workplace temperatures must be ‘reasonable’.  However the interpretation of ‘reasonable’ could differ between businesses or between employees.

Theresa Carling, Employment Law Specialist with Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors, says: “The most important thing is to listen to your employees, consider any concerns and complaints and take the heat seriously.  All employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff and if rising temperatures in the workplace were to cause health problems the employer would be responsible.  We recommend thinking ahead and taking preventative measures.”

Recommendations for managing rising temperatures in the workplace include rearranging seating so those who are feeling the heat more are nearer to windows, or considering the options for working from home.  Employers are required to make drinking water available, though this does not have to be chilled.

Theresa adds: “Businesses with a more formal dress code may consider relaxing it to allow staff to be more comfortable at work.  In fact, it may be worth addressing this within company policy documents, so that staff are fully aware of what is acceptable in the higher temperatures.

“The onus is on the employer to be a step ahead of the employees.  If the working environment is unsuitable when temperatures soar, then they need to have alternatives available.”

If you really did want to score points with your employees .. order the ice cream cones in!

If you need any advice on Employment Law or workplace policies please get in touch with our specialist Commercial Team.