Harrowells Banner Image

Our Resolve. Your Resolution.

News and Events

Is it too cold to work? What is your obligation as an employer?

View profile for Gillian Markland
  • Posted
  • Author
Is it too cold to work? What is your obligation as an employer?

With the prospect of further periods of very cold weather this winter, many employees may be concerned that the office is too cold, and it would be better to work from home.

Whilst some employers may be open to employees working from home during the colder months, it is important to understand the legal requirements for temperatures in the workplace for those are unable to carry out their role at home or where hybrid working is not something the employer offers.

It is important to note that there is no legal requirement for the workplace to be a certain temperature, in cold or hot weather. However, there is guidance, and it is important to keep the temperature at a comfortable level for employees in accordance with Health and Safety Regulations.  

The Approved Code of Practice on the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations suggest that the minimum temperature for working indoors should be 16 degrees or 13 degrees if the work involves physical effort.

16 degrees to many still feels very cold, and as many employers know there is often a battle in the office between employees as to what the most comfortable temperature is. The recommended temperatures are not a legal requirement and it is up to an employer to decide what amounts to ‘comfortable’ in the context of their workplace. 

Below are some practical tips that employees could consider.

Practical tips for employers:

  • Relax formal dress codes and allow employees to wear cardigans/ jumpers in the office
  • Provide heaters. Although, it is important to ensure heaters are PAT tested and employees know to turn them off at the end of the day
  • Allow adequate rest breaks for employees to make hot drinks

If employers have any further questions on this matter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our specialist employment law team.

Our articles are intended for general information purposes only and are not a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We are always very happy to discuss any plans, issues or concerns you may have and to clarify how we might be able to help. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.