Your rights while working from home in extremely hot weather explained

With the UK heatwave sending temperatures soaring, you may be wondering if it's too hot to work.

Many of us have been enjoying the hot weather over the last couple of days, but for those who have to keep working it can be very difficult to concentrate.

While most offices have air-con to keep you cool while you're working, many people are still working from home.

Many will be stuck inside in the blistering heat, especially if they live in a house or flat with poor ventilation.

Employers have the legal obligation to make sure you're working in a "reasonable environment" – so when is it too hot to work?

Here we explain the rules around temperature and working conditions.

When is it too hot to work in the office and at home?

Unfortunately, there is no "maximum" temperature that dictates when it's too hot to work, which makes things a bit more complicated.

However, according to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992, the temperature must be "reasonable".

Usually, companies will do everything they can to make sure the temperature in an office is reasonable, but this is a lot harder when employees are working from home.

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Luckily, according to Mike Hibbs, employment partner at law firm Shakespeare Martineau, you can argue to your manager that your home is too hot to work in.

He told The Sun: "The fact that many employees are still working from home does not mean that employers can suddenly forget their health and safety responsibilities.

"All the usual rules apply, including the need to risk assess homes as suitable working environments."

He explained how employers usually rely on air conditioning and ventilation to regulate temperatures.

Mr Hibbs added: "Ultimately, employee safety should always be an employer’s top priority and they cannot force staff to work if temperature and noise levels prohibit them from doing so."

That means that if you can't find somewhere cool to work from, your boss can't keep you there.

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Mr Hibbs told The Mirror: "Ultimately, employee safety should always be an employer’s top priority and they cannot force staff to work if temperature and noise levels prohibit them from doing so.

"Certain disabilities, such as COPD and arthritis, also make working in high temperatures particularly difficult, so considering any reasonable adjustments that need to be made to help them do their jobs safely is vital."

What can you do if it's too hot to work?

If you genuinely feel it's too hot to work, the first thing you need to do is tell your manager.

They should make it a priority to make sure you are comfortable in your working environment.

As the government's guidance on working from home has changed, they might suggest you can return to an office.

Some employers may decide to do a risk assessment in your home to decide on the next steps.

Ultimately, whether or not it's too hot to work in your working environment is down to your employer's discretion.

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