What Are Your Rights At Work When The Weather Is Too Cold?
Have you been going into work this past week and immediately wishing you were somewhere warmer, while counting how many times you've watched the vapour of your own breath as it leaves your mouth?
OK, that's pretty much all of us. But have you ever found it so cold in work that you've thought to yourself: 'I should be taking the day off, shouldn't I?!' Well, it's time to find out what your rights are in those situations, my friends.
Temperatures are expected to carry on being... what's the best way to put this? 'Really fucking cold' is a good start.
With this chill comes a set of regulations that your employer must abide by.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that employers should "assess risks to health and safety and act where necessary (i.e. if the workplace temperature drops below the minimum guideline or if it is felt the temperature is too high)."
And being a bit more specific about temperatures, the gauge in your workplace shouldn't fall below 16C (60F).
Should it drop below 16C, the associated Approved Code of Practice explains that your bosses would have to take relevant steps to bring that shit back up.
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Oh, and if your job means strenuous work, then the degrees can drop to 13 - because, y'know, sweat and that.
According to guidelines, workers should be given the opportunity to take breaks on the regs and have hot drinks.
It is also the employer's responsibility to provide necessary additional heating, so leave that Dyson heater at home where it belongs. Advice has also been given that employers should consider the possibility of flexible working hours or rotas to reduce the effects of a cold spell.
Kate Palmer, head of advisory at employment law consultancy Peninsula, pissed on everyone's chips when she told the Sun that an employer has no obligation to pay you if you fail to turn up for work because the weather is bad, public transport isn't running or for the hours missed if you're late.
She told the newspaper: "Whilst there is no obligation, employers may wish to be accommodating in this circumstance and offer to let the employee make up the time on another day so they still get paid, or suggest that holiday is taken on that day."
You should head into work if it is safe and reasonable to do so - so maybe it wouldn't be wise to try and dig your car out of the snow.
But it might be sensible to consider changing your mode of transport - for instance, maybe just jump on the train if the station is down the road.
If they're running, obviously.
Featured Image Credit: PA