UK Heatwave: How hot does it have to be to legally leave work? Temperature limit for workplaces as UK heats up this summer

AN AMBER weather warning is in place today across Hampshire as the UK heatwave continues.

By Charlotte Hawes
Monday, 18th July 2022, 12:51 pm

Last week, the Met Office released a statement, saying: ‘The amber warning, which has been issued for Sunday (July 17) and Monday (July 18), highlights likely adverse health effects for the public, not just limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat.

‘Temperatures could be in excess of 35C in the southeast, and more widely around 32C within the warning area.

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UK Heatwave: How hot does it have to be for schools to close? Temperature limit ...
Here's how hot it has to be for workplaces to close in the UK.

‘These high temperatures could extend further into next week and an extension of the warning will be considered in the coming days.’

With temperatures continuing to rise, many have been questioning how hot it needs to be before workers can get the day off.

But how hot does it have to be in order for workplaces to close?

Here’s everything you need to know:

How hot does it need to be to leave work in the UK?

Workplaces across the UK follow the same protocol as schools when it comes to extreme weather conditions, which means there is a minimum temperature but no maximum temperature to warrant closure.

The official advice from the Government website states: ‘During working hours the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be reasonable.

‘There’s no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures, eg when it’s too cold or too hot to work.

‘There’s no guidance for a maximum temperature limit.’

Health and safety requires workplace temperatures to be ‘reasonable’, which applies all year round.

The upper limit of this definition will depend on what type of work is being done as well as the working environment.

For example, it will be lower for those doing manual labour on a motorway than those sitting in comfortable air-conditioned offices.

If you are disabled, your employer may have a legal duty to make adjustments if the weather affects an existing medical condition.

This is most common with illnesses or disabilities which make someone feel the temperature more acutely than others.

How to stay cool during a heatwave

There are a number of ways to help you stay cool during a heatwave, including:

-Drinking plenty of water in order to stay hydrated

-Staying inside during the hottest hours of the day. This is usually between 11am and 4pm.

-Avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day

-Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors

-If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately

-Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide-brimmed hat.