Heatwave calls for flexible working

During last month’s scorching heat wave, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) called for
employers to let staff work flexible hours or work remotely in a bid to help them cope with
the heat.

Unlike ‘Snow Day’, there is no summer equivalent for days that are unusually hot. Employers need only provide a workplace which has “reasonable” temperature; they are not even legally obliged to relax
their dress code when the temperature soars.

Due to the nature of work of some industries where employees must work in high temperatures, the Health and Safety Executive says a limit cannot be introduced. However, the TUC wants to change the above legal position by introducing a new maximum indoor temperature of 30 degrees (27 degrees for those with physical work) with a requirement for employers to act to cool down the workplace once the temperature reaches 24 degrees.

Employers are advised to use common sense during extreme weather, consider their employees wellbeing plus whether it may be sensible (or not) to relax company rules on dress code. Having clear rules and regulations about how employees are expected to present themselves at work in order to meet company brand is undoubtedly sensible. It’s also important to ensure these rules are both practical and non-discriminatory.

If you’d like help to prepare or review your existing policies, please do get in touch.