Workers should wear casual clothes and work flexible hours, unions say

Workers should wear casual clothes and work flexible hours, unions say

07/21/2021

Workers should be able to wear casual clothes to the office and be allowed to work flexible hours during the heatwave, unions say

  • Unions say employers should adopt relaxed dress code at work during heatwave
  • Staff can work earlier, stay later and leave ties and jackets at home, TUC insists 
  • Labour’s employment rights and protections minister, Andy McDonald backs call
  • Britain enjoys another scorching day with extreme heat warning for 90F (32C)

The Labour party and unions have called for staff to be able to work flexible hours and wear casual clothes at work to deal with the summer heatwave.

With temperatures peaking at 96F in the UK this week, employers are being urged to keep their staff safe from the extreme heat as many return to offices for the first time in 16 months.

The TUC said staff should be allowed to start work earlier, or stay later, leave jackets and ties in the wardrobe and have regular breaks.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘We all love the summer sun, but working in sweltering conditions in a baking shop or stifling office can be unbearable and dangerous.

‘Indoor workplaces should be kept cool, with relaxed dress codes and flexible working to make use of the coolest hours of the day.

With temperatures peaking at 90F in the UK this week, employers are being urged to keep staff safe from the extreme heat as many return to offices for the first time in 16 months. [File pic]

A swimmer dives into the water at Hampstead Heath men’s bathing pond in North London this morning

A couple take in the sunrise at Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneisde at the start of another hot day this morning

‘Bosses must make sure outdoor workers are protected with regular breaks, lots of fluids, plenty of sunscreen and the right protective clothing.’

‘Lots of staff are still working from home, so they may struggle to work during the hottest parts of the day. Employers should allow flexible hours so people can work when it’s cooler.’

Andy McDonald, shadow employment rights and protections minister, said: ‘Following the unprecedented extreme heat warning from the Met Office, the Government must ensure that employers are taking steps to protect their workers.

‘Most employers are responsible and want to take steps to protect their staff from extreme heat, but the Government must issue clear guidance.

‘Given the dangers of working in heat, there should be a maximum working temperature. 

TUC General secretary Frances O’Grady (pictured) has called for workplaces to adopt a relaxed dress code during the unprecedented British heatwave

‘Extreme heat is a serious health and safety risk and working people must not be exposed to dangerous conditions that threaten their health and wellbeing.’

Britain enjoyed another scorching day today with an extreme weather warning for 90F (32C) temperatures until Friday – but forecasters warned that this weekend will bring torrential downpours, thunderstorms and flooding. 

By 1pm this afternoon, the top UK temperature was 86F (30C) in Exeter, followed by 84F (29C) in London and Southampton. The high as early as 9am was 72F (22C) in London, Cardiff, Norwich and Manchester.

The heat was also causing travel disruption, with Chiltern Railways saying severely high track temperatures meant that trains could not run between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire until 6.30pm. 

It comes as the number of lives lost in the water during the current heatwave rose to 12 today as police confirmed the death of a man who got swept away while swimming in the sea off the Merseyside coast. 

The UK had its hottest temperature of the year yesterday – 90F (32.2C) – recorded at London Heathrow Airport. The previous high for 2021 was 88.9F (31.6C), which was also recorded at the airport on Sunday.

An amber extreme heat warning remains in place for central and southern England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

While much of England is set to sizzle today, scattered thunderstorms are forecast to return across the East. 

The Environment Agency had 11 flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible – in place this morning throughout parts of London, Essex, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. 

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