With Britain undergoing an unseasonably warm spell and more sunny settled weather expected, keeping your cool in the workplace takes on a whole new meaning!
It can be a challenging time for employers as they try to maintain standards and safety at work whilst ensuring their staff don’t get too hot under the collar.
Employment partner Julia Fitzsimmons looks at the issues to consider as the nation basks in the sunshine:
When you hear that even Royal Ascot is relaxing its dress code and men won’t have to wear a tie or top hat given the temperature, you know we’re in the middle of a heatwave!
But, despite that, employers can still insist on a dress code for their staff. It’s unlikely to be identical for men and women but you do need make sure that it is non discriminatory so that the standard of business attire is comparable for both men and women.
However, many employers relax their dress codes during periods of hot weather, particularly where buildings are not air-conditioned. This may include permitting staff to remove ties. You need to consider the standard of dress and what’s suitable for your business.
There is no legal temperature at which employees can down tools but employers do have a legal duty to provide ‘a reasonably comfortable temperature’ be proactive to provide a manageable environment.
Consider things such as allowing more frequent rest breaks, providing extra water or portable air conditioning units if there is none in the building. Where employees are working outside, consider hats and sun protection too.
Ultimately, a happy workforce is a more productive one so it’s worth balancing the needs of your business with the needs of your staff!
For any questions on employment regulations in the hot weather, please contact Julia Fitzsimmons on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01952 208420.