Weather warnings – getting to work
As the cold snap gets a grip on the UK, there are weather warnings in place across large swathes of the country. What do you need to do if you can’t get into work?
The first thing you must do is talk to your line manager.
Your manager is expected to treat your safety as a priority and should talk through working options such as:
- Working from home
- Flexing shift patterns, adjusting start and finish times
- Considering if there’s a local office or branch you could work from instead
You can expect to continue to be paid if you’ve looked at other viable ways to get to work, explored reasonable options for alternative childcare and dependants if impacted (e.g. school closures) and, if conditions improve, that you’ve made an effort to get into work when it makes sense to do so.
If you feel your individual circumstances aren’t being fairly considered and you want further advice, contact the officer who supports your workplace
When it's cold inside
If you’ve made it to work only to find it’s as cold inside as it is outside, there are steps your employer must take.
While there’s no minimum legal temperature for a workplace, the relevant legislation (the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992) simply states that the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be reasonable during working hours. However, the Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice and guidance on those regulations says that the temperature in an indoor workplace should both provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing and should normally be at least 16 degrees. We interpret that to mean that colleagues shouldn’t need to have to wear their coats, hats and gloves when working in a branch or office.
If the temperature dips below 16 degrees in your workplace, then we recommend you immediately speak to your line manager to get some temporary heating put in or, if that’s not possible, consider additional measures to make the workplace more comfortable. As a last resort, the workplace may need to be closed until the temperature is reasonable. If you’re having heating problems that aren’t being resolved, please get in touch with the officer who covers your workplace.
Temperature gauge cards
If you want to keep an eye on the temperature in your workplace, you can order one of our branded temperature gauge cards. Please send your request to: [email protected] - include your name and full workplace address.
Further info & guidance
There is further information and guidance available from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and some useful resources from the TUC:
- Acas’s guidance on extreme temperatures in the workplace
- HSE guidelines on temperature in the workplace
- Too Hot Too Cold TUC microsite