Maximum temperature, right of withdrawal… What does the law say about professional activity in the event of a heat wave?

In hot weather, it can be difficult to work as the heat can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, according to the law, there is no provision for employees not to come to work. ” Indeed, no maximum temperature beyond which it is forbidden to work is fixed in the Labor Code. Employees must therefore, a priori, come to work “, reveals Legalwork. On the other hand, on its site, the Ministry of Labor specifies that in the event of a red vigilance alert from Météo France, “ the employer is subject to several specific obligations “. Indeed, if there is a heat wave, then the employer must ” put in place an organization and means adapted to situations of exposure to episodes of high heat “.

Schedules, additional breaks… The obligations of the employer

This can be done by adjusting working hours. More precisely, an employee can start his activity earlier in the morning and also end it prematurely in the afternoon. Also, the employer can also decide organize additional and/or longer breaks at the hottest times of the day, if possible in a cooler room “Adds the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty. In the premises of the company, the employer must regularly renew the air in the premises ” to avoid excessive temperature rises (see Cadremploi) but also provide employees with fresh drinking water.

Also to discover: Heat wave: will France be affected by an episode of extreme heat like in Spain?

Is there a maximum working temperature?

In the Labor Code, no maximum temperature under which an employee can work is indicated. However, the employer may decide, given the high temperatures, to let his employees telework. ” In addition, the employer is in particular required to follow the recommendations related to the activation of the national heat wave plan, in particular if the employees work on construction sites or if they come from another sector particularly exposed to the risk of heat wave. and thermal environments (catering, bakery, laundry, outdoor work as for gardeners, etc.), adds the Juritravail site.

Right of withdrawal in the event of a heat wave: what does it mean?

Depending on the company, the provisions may vary. Some, already followers of teleworking, can also generalize it until further notice. In addition, companies are also asked to “slow down the pace” in terms of work for certain employees, in particular for construction professions, order pickers or others, which require intense physical effort. Depending on the potential heat-related hazards in their workplace, employees can also exercise their right of withdrawal. In the event of a heat wave, an employee can benefit if he feels that his health may be in danger. Finally, the right of withdrawal can be exercised if the employer does not apply sufficient measures, or if they are non-existent, to protect its employees from high heat.

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