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It is the season to be jolly…

 

Hello and welcome to our final newsletter for 2016.

As we enter the final weeks of the “season of chaos” preparing for the festivities, I hope you have all taken advantage of our Tax Paid Gift Cards, as it is a fantastic way you can reward your staff.  It is not too late to place a last minute order – as long as we have your order (and payment) by 4pm on Friday, 16th December 2016 and we will do our very best to get you your order by 23rd December 2016 (although I can’t provide you with any guarantees).

The Christmas season can have a big impact on your business and can present you with a number of difficult staffing issues to manage. These can range from being inundated with last minute holiday requests as staff realise that if they don’t take all their holiday by the end of the year they will lose it, to managing your business when staff are unable to get to work due to weather related travel disruption. For more informtion on dealing with holiday requests click here. 

It is not just about the cold weather outside you need to be aware of but also your legal responsibilities for managing and maintaining the inside temperatures of your workplace.  It seems that not so many weeks ago we woke up to crisp blue skies with stunning scenes of heavy frost and freezing temperatures. 

The legal position is somewhat vague on the issue however as a rule of thumb you should maintain a temperature of at least 16C in offices, but in certain circumstances, it can be as low as 13C (depending on the nature of the workplace). 

There are regulations which cover this area namely The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992. These state that “during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable” – but what is reasonable? The Regulations say “The temperatures in a workroom should provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing.  Where such a temperature is impractical because of hot or cold process, all reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a temperature which is as close as possible to comfortable.”  

So what should you be doing to ensure that your staff are working in a reasonably comfortable work environment?  First and foremost, ensure that the temperature in your workplace is at least 16c or above. If it does fall below 16C, you have a duty to take action.   You may wish to consider allowing your employees to have regular breaks and a chance to have a hot drink to warm them up; provide additional heating should it get too cold.  Employers who don’t act put themselves at risk of seriously harming the wellbeing of your employees and face potential legal action as a result, not to mention poor staff motivation.

I hope you find our guidance useful but as always, we would welcome your suggestions for future topics, so please drop me an email for any areas you would like me to cover in future editions of our newsletter.

Before I finish off, as a quick reminder, during the festive period, we will be operating with skeleton staff and on reduced operating hours.  Do remember though, if you matter is urgent and cannot wait, our out of hours service will be operational.

Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Kind regards

Angela