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Heatwave in France: Do I have to go into the office?

Your employer might encourage home-working, be more flexible with hours or halt physical labour during the hottest part of the day after making a risk assessment

Temperature rising Pic: aappp / Shutterstock

Q: I have trouble concentrating during very hot spells. Do I have to go to work in a heatwave? Our office does not have air conditioning  F.G.

A: The answer is yes, you do still need to go to work, but your employer must take care of you.

Special measures have to be implemented in the workplace when Météo-France issues a vigilance rouge warning for fortes chaleurs in the area where you work. During these periods, an employer must make daily evaluations of the risks to each staff member.

These should take into consideration the temperature and its progression during the day, the nature of the work, especially if it is outside, and the age and state of health of the employee. As a result of this evaluation, the organisation of the workplace can be changed. Examples include having different hours of work and stopping hard physical labour during the hottest part of the day.

Homeworking should be encouraged where possible, especially for pregnant women, people with long-term health conditions, or for those with disabilities.

If the nature of the work means that these measures are likely to be insufficient and staff are still at risk from the heat (examples given include roof work, insulating lofts, or carrying heavy loads), the employer must stop the work.

Time lost due to the heat can be made up in the same way as happens during storms – with extra hours added to work days when the alert is over.

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