Employers urged to keep in mind workers who may have the legal right to leave work during the heatwave, says senior counsel

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A labor lawyer has said workers in Scotland could be legally allowed out of the office during next week’s heatwave if bosses fail to stick to health and safety rules.

Liam Entwistle, employment rights specialist at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP, reminds employers to follow advice to keep staff safe as temperatures are set to reach 30C in parts of Scotland next week.

The employment law specialist’s warning comes as the Met Office extended its extreme heat warning for England and Wales until Tuesday, and Scotland is expecting record high temperatures on Tuesday.

Entwistle advised: “When we experience extreme temperatures it is important that employers are aware of their duty of care to staff to provide a reasonable temperature in the workplace and to follow health and safety guidelines.

“Bosses need to be mindful of the thermal comfort of their staff when temperatures soar, to avoid complaints from disgruntled employees or, at worst, personal injury claims.

“If it’s too hot to work and enough employees are complaining, employers need to listen, conduct a risk assessment, and then implement effective cooling measures.

“Employees have a duty to ensure that their staff members are not at risk of heat stroke, exhaustion or dehydration.

“As always, it is important that employees and staff communicate if the workplace is not comfortable and are able to do so without fear of criticism. Employers should be very aware that some employees may experience more acute thermal discomfort than others – for example employees going through menopause.

For more information about WJM and its Employment team, visit www.wjm.co.uk

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