November 22, 2022
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2 minutes

Heatwave and teleworking: to what extent should employers protect their employees?

As a heatwave sweeps across France this week, Offishall's editorial team looks at the obligations of companies towards employees who work from home. Employers need to ensure that employees are well looked after and that they are working both in the office and remotely.

Heatwave and teleworking: to what extent should employers protect their employees?

Heatwave: who should protect the teleworking employee?

Heat stroke, exhaustion, dehydration... To prevent employees from being exposed to the harmful effects of high temperatures, employers must take into consideration the "thermal environment" according to the Labour Code, with a whole series of recommendations. The sectors most exposed to risk, such as construction and agricultural work, are regularly subject to targeted checks, as the Ministry of Labour reminded us again at the beginning of June.

Employers must give preference to remote work during heatwaves

Staggered working hours, more frequent breaks, generally speaking, the employer must "limit the exposure of workers to high temperatures" and "give preference to teleworking where possible".

They must "ensure that the wearing of personal protective equipment is compatible with high temperatures", "control the proper renewal of air and monitor the temperature of the premises", and provide employees with "means of protection against high temperatures or cooling".

How should the employer protect the employee in the event of a heat wave?
The employer has a responsibility to look after the working conditions of employees, whether they are teleworking or working face-to-face.

What about the protection of remote employees?

According to employment lawyer Eric Rocheblave, the same rules apply for telework and face-to-face work because there are no specific provisions in the Labour Code.

"If you get sick at home while teleworking because of the heat because your accommodation is not suitable, it will be considered an accident at work," he says.

"The employer has a responsibility to take care of the working conditions in telework The employer has a responsibility to look after the working conditions,just like in the office", he insists. It is therefore up to the employer to ensure that the employee has fresh accommodation, a fan or air conditioning, especially for 100% remote employees who cannot use the company's facilities.

Although the Labour Code does not indicate any temperature above which it is no longer possible to work, the Caisse Nationale de l'Assurance Maladie des Travailleurs Salariés (CNAMTS) recommends evacuating employees working in offices above an ambient temperature of 34°C.

Offishall is an employee presence management solution that aims to support organizations in the implementation of the hybrid work mode - alternating between telework and face-to-face. Every day, the company allows thousands of users to know who is where when and therefore to find their way around the office (better). The Offishall Planning tool contributes to boosting the attractiveness of the structures by helping them to take up the great HR challenge of the decade: that of work flexibility.

The Editor

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