Working in hot weather is subject to specific provisions in Polish law. What does the law has to say when it comes to working in the conditions that currently bother us in Poland?
A heat wave is sweeping through Poland. Particularly severe heat is expected on Thursday, June 30. Working in the heat of an un-air conditioned office is exhausting, let alone manual work indoors. That is why we checked what the Labour Code says about working in heat.
It turns out that working in hot weather is not indifferent to Polish law. The issue is regulated by health and safety regulations.
Work in hot weather – what the employer must do
The primary duty of the employer, not only in hot weather, is to provide employees with water. It should be generally available and free drinking water.
So if in our town you can drink tap water, because it is properly tested and safe, it is enough to have access to tap water. Otherwise, the boss must provide us with drinking water in a different form – e.g. separate bottles or a generally available dispenser.
Additionally, when working in heat, drinks provided by the employer should be enriched with vitamins and mineral salts.
This is because working in hot weather is considered to be working in harsh conditions. According to the act on bridging pensions, work in particularly arduous conditions is work in both cold and hot microclimate conditions.
Heat is to be understood as a temperature above 25 ° C outdoors and above 28 ° C indoors.
Shortening the working time in heat. Is it possible?
Additionally, the employer may provide employees with other forms of protection against high temperatures. Air conditioning may be an obvious solution, but there is also an additional break in work in hot weather.
Importantly, the employer is not obliged to give us such an additional break.
The same is true when it comes to reducing working hours due to hot weather – it is possible, but employers are not obliged to do so. A lot will depend here on the individual agreement of employees or trade unions and the boss.
Also when it comes to air conditioning, blackout blinds, etc., there are no obligations on the part of the company. The employer is generally obliged to provide safe working conditions, but much depends on the specific situation.
There are two important exceptions – in heat in the rooms, where the temperature exceeds 30 ° C, neither young people nor pregnant women can work. Additionally, if it is impossible to ensure a temperature lower than 30 degrees in the rooms due to technological processes (such as for some types of industrial production), the employer should provide employees with an air-conditioned room where they can spend a break from work. These workers must also have access to showers and personal care.
Working in heat from the employee’s perspective
The Labour Code indirectly regulates the issue of refusal to work in hot weather.
Pursuant to Art. 210 of the Code, if the working conditions do not meet the health and safety regulations and pose a direct threat to the health or life of the employee, the employee has the right to refrain from performing work.
She orhHe must immediately notify his or hers supervisor about this and has the right to leave the workplace if he or she decides that working in the conditions provided by his or hers employer poses a risk of health problems.
The employer, if these conditions are met, may not take away the employee’s remuneration for such a period of withdrawal from work.