Can you have a day off or leave work if it's too cold? Your rights explained

November 13, 2017 12:49 PM

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From driving in hazardous conditions to school or office closures, winter can be a tricky season when it comes to work

It's that time of year when temperatures plummet and your start layering up.

From driving in hazardous conditions to school closures, winter can be a tricky season when it comes to work.

So what are your rights? Can you take an unexpected day off work in situations like this?

Your boss might be able to make you take unpaid leave, holiday days or work flexible hours to make up time - even if you legitimately can't make it in. But if you show you've made an effort and speak to them early, a reasonable boss shouldn't penalise you.

It's worth checking your contract or staff handbook, though, in case there's anything in it about extreme weather. That way you'll know if your boss is being unfair.

Your employer can't make you take a journey that's not safe. That said, they don't have to pay you either.

While there's no official maximum temperature for a workplace, there is a minimum.

Health and Safety Executive rules state offices need to be at least 16 degrees , or 13 degrees if the work "involves rigorous physical effort".

It's not an absolute legal requirement, but there is a legal obligation on employers to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace - and those are the temperatures used to set this.

Nope. If you they've closed the office and you can't work from home then your boss can't dock your pay or make you take annual leave.

No. Employers normally have to give you at least two days' notice before they are allowed to make you take a day's holiday. But there may be wiggle room for them if you get more than the statutory minimum holiday (28 days).

If you can't get to work, your boss might say you should take unpaid leave. But if it's not already in your contract they can't force you to.

You are entitled to take reasonable amounts of time off work if your childcare arrangements are unexpectedly disrupted. Although this could well be in the form of unpaid leave.

There's not a lot you can do about this - if you can work from home, or do some of your work from home, then it's reasonable for them to ask it if you can't make it into the office.

But if you don't already work flexible hours in your contract, your boss can't make you make up time later.

Also read: ‘Absolute MADNESS!’ Hospital savaged after issuing staff with GUIDE on making TOAST


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