It's so cold today that employees could be sent home from work 3 years ago

It's so cold today that employees could be sent home from work

It's freezing out there.

So with Britain truly in the belly of the 'Beast from the East', there is only one question on every worker's lips: how cold does it need to get before I'm sent home?


If you look at government guidance, it suggests a minimum of 16C, or 13C if employees are doing physical work. And, as part of health and safety law, employers are required to:

  • Keep the temperature at a comfortable level
  • Provide clean and fresh air

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states that "during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable."

(Credit: Getty Images)

The official government website, says: "Employers must stick to health and safety at work law, including, keeping the temperature at a comfortable level and providing clean and fresh air.


"Employees should talk to their employer if the workplace temperature is not comfortable."

A 'reasonable temperature' depends on the nature of the job being done and the environmental conditions of the workplace - so it  depends on who exactly your employer is and what you usually get up to day-to-day.

A UNITE spokesperson said: "When working indoors, employers should ensure that the temperature does not fall below 16 degrees centigrade. If you are undertaking very physical work, the temperature should not be below 13 degrees centigrade.

"There is currently no maximum temperature, which is an issue that Unite has long campaigned to have introduced in order to better protect the workforce.

"There are currently no rules for a minimum outdoor working temperature; however your employer must make modifications to protect your health. This includes supplying suitable protective clothing, introducing more regular rest breaks to allow a worker to regain warmth, providing mobile facilities and warm drinks to help workers stay warm, and educating workers on cold stress and hypothermia."