Here comes the sun: 4 summer problems employers need to be wary of


This week has seen the summer kick in to full swing with temperatures soaring up to 30 degrees in the North West.

As we hit the summer months, employers may be faced with a range of employment issues from holidays to dress codes.

In our latest article, the experts at LawforEmployers take a look at some of common problems employers could face this summer.

Is there a maximum office temperature?

Although the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that workplace temperatures need to ‘reasonable’ there is no maximum temperature.

Deciding what is reasonable will depend on the nature of your workplace and the work being carried out by employees.

The TUC has called for an upper limit where employers will be forced to put measures in place when temperatures reach 24⁰C. It would mean staff could be sent home if temperatures hit 30⁰C or 27⁰C for workers engaged in physically demanding work.

How to respond to unauthorised time off

It is important not to immediately jump to conclusion if an employee is refused a holiday but goes ahead and takes a day off anyway.

You should carry out an investigation allowing you to identify whether there was a genuine reason for the absence.

If there was no credible reason for the absence, it could then become a disciplinary issue and your disciplinary process will need to be followed. You can get more information on following a fair disciplinary process here.

Implementing a summer dress code

When the temperatures rise during the summer months, it may be reasonable to adopt a more relaxed dress code.

However, in some cases the role an employee performs will dictate whether they are able to dress down. This could be employees needing to wear protective clothing for health and safety reasons or employees in customer facing roles being required to set certain standards of presentation.

The most important aspect for employers is to avoid discriminating between groups of employees.

Are you required to accept holiday requests?

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, you are not obliged to accept an employee’s request to take a holiday at a certain time. The only exception to this is if the right to certain days off are contained within the employment contract.

If you receive competing requests for holiday from different workers you can prioritise requests as long as this is done in a fair and consistent manner. For instance this could be on a first come, first serve basis.

It is recommended that employers set out their own holiday policy which details notice provisions for requesting a holiday.

Get the advice you need by speaking to the experts at LawforEmployers

If you need advice on implementing policies and procedures in the workplace, talk to the expert solicitors at LawforEmployers today.

You can speak directly to one of our legal experts by calling 01282 695 400.

Or, if you don’t have time to talk to us right now, arrange a call back by completing our quick online contact form.