Five Summer Employment Issues and How to Curb Them

The heat is on this summer with sweltering conditions making workers feel hot and bothered.

For employers, there are a number of summer employment issues to contend with too.

As temperatures soar toward 30C, there are ways to make work more bearable during the heat wave.

MPs in the House of Commons environmental committee have urged Public Health England to advise employers to allow a more relaxed dress code.

We take a look at other summer employment issues affecting the workplace and how to overcome them.

Holiday Requests

Employers are generally not obliged to agree to worker’s requests to take holidays at a specific time.  If employees submit holiday requests for the same period of time then managers should prioritise these in a fair way.

This is often done on a first come first served basis.

Employees should be encouraged to put in their holiday requests early to allow for sufficient planning. This is made easier using RotaMaster’s People+ tool where managers can easily see where holiday leave has been allocated without relying on a spreadsheet. Employees can submit requests using the tool and see how much leave they have available.

Parental Leave

With schools breaking up for the long school holidays, working parents may need a degree of flexibility while they juggle work and childcare commitments.

An option for those who have over one year’s service is unpaid parental leave. Employees are entitled to 18 weeks’ leave for each child and adopted child up to their 18th birthday. The most a parent can take in one year is 4 weeks for each child unless the employer agrees otherwise.

The leave must be taken in whole week blocks and must be granted unless there are sound business reasons why it cannot be taken.

Unauthorised Time Off

A major bugbear for managers over summer is unauthorised time off. It leaves the team short-staffed with little notice and leaves you feeling suspicious of your colleague.

If a worker has had holiday leave refused but goes ahead and takes time off anyway, it’s important not to jump to conclusions.

You should carry out an investigation to ascertain the reason behind the absence and take disciplinary action if required.

Office Temperatures

Heat waves make the workplace feel uncomfortable but there is no law setting the maximum limit for workplace temperatures.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that temperatures need to be ‘reasonable’. What is reasonable depends on the nature of the work. For example, employers should consider whether the work is strenuous or physical.

A workplace must also provide its staff with drinking water. Be mindful of those who are pregnant, have a medical condition or are on medication. While businesses aren’t obliged to provide air conditioning, perhaps assess who might be more affected by the hot weather and consider giving them frequent rest breaks or fans.

Dress Code

During periods of hot weather, wearing a suit and tie may seem unbearable. An employer can permit workers to have a dress-down day should the hot weather necessitate it. But there is no law to say they must do so and there might be a reason for a particular dress code or that a uniform is worn for reasons such as health and safety.

To discuss how RotaMaster can help manage your leave requests email or call 01924 252360.