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Too Hot to Handle! - Common Summer Time Employment Issues

Jul 24, 2017

1.     Maximum Working Temperatures

Contrary to popular belief there is no maximum working temperature set by law. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that the temperature in the workplace must be “reasonable” which depends on the nature of the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive has given a guideline of an acceptable working temperature as being between 13°C and 30°C, with strenuous work activities concentrating on bottom of the range, however this is not legally binding. 

2.     Dress Codes for Summer

Employers may wish to allow a more relaxed dress code for employees during the summer time, however the extent of this will be dependent on the employee’s role. Customer-facing roles may require certain standards of presentation and so employers may impose a ban on flip flops or strappy tops for women. Equally it would not be possible for them to relax the attire of roles requiring protective clothing.

3.     Competing Holiday Requests

Employers may experience difficulties when a number of employees want to take annual leave at the same time, particularly during school holidays. In such circumstances managers can prioritise requests provided that they do this in a fair and reasonable way, i.e. approve them on a first-come, first-served basis. Employers should also ensure there is a clear policy on how much notice employees must give for holiday requests drafted in such a way so as to avoid last minute requests which can impact on having staff available to cover annual leave. 

4.     Unauthorised Time off

When an employee takes time off despite their holiday request being refused it is important not to jump to conclusions as there may be a genuine reason for their absence, such as sickness. A company’s holiday policy should stipulate that unauthorised annual leave will constitute a disciplinary offence and if an employee fails to provide a genuine reason then such a process should be instigated.

5.     Late Return From Holiday

If an employee’s explanation for their late return from holiday does not appear genuine or they do not provide evidence when requested, employers should consider their disciplinary process for unauthorised time off. 

Joanna Sutton

About the author

Joanna Sutton

Joanna qualified as a solicitor in 2010 and joined Nockolds as a Senior Associate in March 2016 having previously worked and trained at another firm ...

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