With present weather conditions meaning temperatures are soaring, the Employment Law team offers the following advice:
In accordance with statues, specifically the Workplace (health, safety and welfare) Regulations 1992, a workplace needs to have a “reasonable” temperature, however, there is no defined maximum. That which is reasonable is entirely dependent on the nature of the work and the workplace in question, inevitably specific issues need to be taken in to account, such as the physical labour involved in the performance of a job and its location. Ultimately, what is reasonable will depend on the nature of the workplace and the activities undertaken.
Summer Dress Code
It would be perfectly reasonable and perhaps arguably expected in this day and age for employers to adapt a slightly more relaxed attitude towards the attire of their staff during the summer months, particularly peak temperature times. Again this will depend upon the nature of the job and the roles carried out by individual employees. Certain standards of presentation may need to be maintained particularly where jobs involve face to face client or customer interaction. Similarly, for health and safety reasons it may be necessary to insist on protective wear continuing to being worn, irrespective of the temperature. In short, companies and employers should ensure that any dress code that they have in place is both reasonable and appropriate to the needs of their business and does not in any shape or form discriminate between different groups of employees.
A Clash of Holiday Requests
The Working Time Regulations 1998 does not require employers to agree to any particular employee’s request to take a holiday at a certain time of the year, unless of course their individual Contract dictates to the contrary. Where there are requests for holidays by different employees which clash in relation dates, then this is a matter that will need to be prioritised, though this must be done in a way that is fair and consistent throughout the business, perhaps on a first come first served basis.
It would be wise for all employers to have their own holiday policy detailing notice requirements and other arrangements regarding holidays.
Due to the extended nature of school holidays during the summer period, it is often a time when work experience is carried out by pupils of schools local to employers. An employer does not have to pay a child of compulsory school age whilst on work experience, though inevitably there are rules and restrictions in relation to the employment of young people and relevant approvals from local authorities or school governing bodies are needed.
If you are an employer or employee with any issues or concerns regarding employment law, then contact either our Hinckley or Lutterworth offices and we will be delighted to assist in any way possible.