Davidson News

Davidson News

Navigating Cold Weather: When Is it Too Chilly for Work or School?

Ever wondered when the cold becomes a valid reason to skip work or school? The guidelines are simple, but crucial. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about facing chilly weather and deciding whether it’s safe to step out.

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When is it Too Cold to Head Out?

During a cold snap, heading to work is advised if it’s safe and reasonable. If icy roads thwart your travel attempts, inform your employer. Check the company handbook for specific rules during bad weather; however, be aware that bosses aren’t obligated to pay if you can’t make it to work. Working from home might be an option, but unpaid or annual leave could be on the table.

Workplaces should maintain a minimum temperature of 16C, rising to 13C for physical tasks, as per Health and Safety Executive guidelines. Employers must ensure “reasonable comfort” for employees, adjusting temperatures accordingly. No fixed temperature sends employees home; it’s the employer’s duty to provide additional heating if needed.

In schools, there’s no minimum temperature requirement since 2012. Employers can introduce flexible hours during cold spells, though it’s not mandatory. Employees aren’t entitled to pay if they miss work due to bad weather, late public transport, or arriving late. It’s essential to prioritize safety when deciding whether to venture out in adverse weather conditions.

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Employer Responsibilities and Employee Pay

Employers shoulder the responsibility of ensuring workplace warmth during colder weather. If temperatures plummet, providing additional heating is recommended. Employers may offer flexible hours, but it’s not compulsory. Kate Palmer from Peninsula emphasizes that employers aren’t obliged to pay if employees miss work due to weather or transportation issues.

No set temperature mandates sending employees home. In schools, the absence of a defined safe temperature leaves the decision to employers. The National Education Union suggests a minimum classroom temperature of 18C. Employees are not legally entitled to payment for emergency days off with children. Prioritizing caution and doing all you can to attend work or school during unfavorable weather is crucial.

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