Summer heatwave: Unions call for employers to relax dress code rules during hot weather

Many companies are offering to foot the bill as outdoor workers are encouraged use sun cream


As much of the country basks or in struggles in the heat, union bosses called for office workers to be allowed to ditch their suits in favour of shorts and for employees to be sent home in hot conditions.

Parts of the UK are officially experiencing a heatwave, as a stream of hot, humid air that has swept in from the Spanish plains sent temperatures today rising as high as 29.4C in Hampton, London. 

And while employees are within their legal rights not to work in conditions below 16C or 13C for those doing physically demanding work – no such maximum temperature exists for other workers.

The TUC believes it should stand at 30C – or 27C for strenuous work – with the General Secretary Frances O’Grady saying: “Extreme heat can be as unpleasant to work in as extreme cold.”

“Now is the time for employers to relax the dress code rules temporarily and allow their staff to dress down for summer.

"Making sure that everyone has access to fans, portable air conditioning units and cold drinking water should help reduce the heat in workplaces,” she added.

With skin cancer the fastest growing form of the disease in the UK, outdoor workers are being encouraged to add sun cream to their kit, with many companies offering to foot the bill.

Whilst regulation of work in hot conditions is sparse, government and industry bodies may have to re-evaluate their procedures as experts predict that climate change will lead to more extreme heat during summer months.

A firefighter was recently awarded £7,500 compensation from the London Fire Brigade for not having been provided adequate drinking water.

Weather stations across the South-east recorded temperatures pushing 30C yesterday, according to the Met Office, with the rest of the UK averaging in the mid-20s.

Hospitals and care homes have been told to expect an increase in admissions with health and social services staff on standby to contact vulnerable charges. Public health officials raised concerns for Muslims fasting for Ramadan.

However, forecasters expect the hot weather to be brought to a halt by thunderstorms over the weekend. This has prompted the Met Office to issue a severe weather warning for much of the country on Saturday, with the potential for localised flooding.

Dan Williams, a meteorologist, said: “We could see some heavy showers in the South-west tonight moving into Wales and the west of England tomorrow.”

The AA has predicted travel chaos on Britain’s roads this weekend but Malcolm Bell of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said talk of a heatwave had been a much-need shot in the arm for tourism in the South-west.

He said: “There have been health warnings and talk of 30C temperatures keeping people inside, but it has had the opposite effect down here because people have been coming to the beaches for the sea breeze.

“I’m sure this weather is doing well for the economy down here, as you’d expect.”

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes