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When is it too cold to go to work or get sent home from school?


TEMPERATURES have plummeted across the UK but when does it become too cold to go to work or school?

We explain your rights.

We explain when you can take a day off work because it's too cold

We explain when you can take a day off work because it’s too cold[/caption]

When is it too cold to go to work?

Snow has blanketed much of Britain and experts say we could get a white Christmas this year.

Everyone loves a snow day but unfortunately there is no guarantee of a day off just because it is snowing.

There is no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures.

If it is safe and reasonable to travel to work then you should go, but if you don’t believe it is safe then you should contact your employer and consult with your company handbook.

Employers  are not required to pay employees if they cannot get to work because of bad weather, according to government rights.

You could be asked to work from home but if this isn’t possible you may be asked to take unpaid or annual leave.

In the workplace, the mercury shouldn’t dip below 16C and employers should try to increase temperature in the office or workplace.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that a workplace should provide “reasonable comfort.”

Its Workplace Regulations, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state 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).”

How cold does it have to get in order to be sent home?

There isn’t a set temperature where employers have to send their employees home because it’s too cold.

However, they should be able to provide regular breaks and plenty of opportunities to drink a hot drink.
In addition, it’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the workplace has additional heating if the temperatures do get too cold.

Employers are recommended to include flexible working hours or rotas to help reduce the effects of a cold snap, but don’t have to.

Kate Palmer, head of advisory at employment law consultancy Peninsula, told The Sun Online an employer has no obligation to pay an employee if they fail to turn up for work because:

  1. The weather is bad
  2. Public transport is not running
  3. Hours missed if they turn up late

What’s the minimum temperature for schools to close?

The minimum temperatures that must be maintained in a school classroom has been set by the Education School Premises Regulations 1999.

Classrooms must reach a minimum of 18C and is must be maintained while the room is in use.

In areas of high activity like the gym the minimum temperature should be at 15C and in rooms with lower activity the minimum is 21C.

But Ms Palmer said employees do not have a statutory right to be paid in the event that they have an emergency day off with their children.

But if their school is shutdown, the employee would be entitled to unpaid time off for dependants to look after the children.


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