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Heatwaves bring rights to workers: know everything

Heat waves bring rights to workers, as well as special conditions that companies can demand.

Did you know that heat waves bring rights to workers? The truth is that in our country there is no type of legislation to protect workers when temperatures are too high.

However, the duty of any employer is to ensure the health and safety of its employees. And, for that very reason, there are some rights that professionals can claim.

In Portugal, and as in other European countries, in Australia or the United States of America, there are still no specific laws regarding heat and the impediment to working when certain temperatures are reached.

However, there are rules that oblige employers to ensure the safety and health of their workers. And there are even some governments that set limits for the temperature in the work environment. Stay with us and learn how to protect yourself.

Heatwaves bring rights to workers: everything you need to know

After all, the heat waves bring rights to workers or not? And what rights are these? If a few years ago this type of issue was not addressed, the scenario is different today.

In fact, there were 39 members of the Government in the UK who recently signed a bill that, if passed, would ban working in temperatures above 30 degrees (or 27 degrees for heavy work).

also in middle Eastconstruction workers are dismissed during the hottest hours of July and August. And in China there have been measures since 2007 that oblige companies to reduce their working hours, with work abroad being suspended from 40 degrees.

In Portugal, however, this situation should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account that there is a great diversity of professions. However, know that the Labor Code and the Constitution state that the worker “has the right to health protection”.

What does the legislation say in Portugal?

In our country there is no “concrete situation” related to extreme weather conditions in which a worker is prevented from performing his duties.

But despite that, All professionals have the right to perform their work in hygienic, health and safety conditions. So, the employer is then obliged to “prevent occupational risks and diseases” through measures – such as adjusting to weather conditions.

With regard to adequate compliance with safety, health and hygiene at work, these must be supervised by external entities.

Furthermore, Decree-Law No. 243/86 also states that the “The temperature of workplaces (in closed spaces) should, as far as possible, oscillate between 18 degrees and 22 degrees Celsius, except in certain weather conditions, in which it can reach 25 degrees”.

So what are the worker’s rights in heat waves?

As we mentioned earlier, heat waves bring rights to workers. what does it mean there are certain essential conditions that a professional is entitled to demand from the employer, such as:

  • Adequate ventilation and air conditioning;
  • Access to water;
  • Right to more breaks;
  • Changing the schedule if your health is being put at risk.

In the case of workers who are more unprotected than others (such as professionals working in construction, agriculture or firefighting), they should ask companies for an adjustment.

Ie, when it comes to outdoor occupations, workers are entitled to ask for this type of adjustment in relation to carrying out certain jobs at a certain time.

What to do if your health is at risk due to high temperatures

As we all know, heat waves have become a reality due to climate change. And as such, this cannot be a subject put aside when talking about hygiene, health and safety conditions in the work environment.

Therefore, if the worker feels that his health may be at risk, you must show your displeasure to the employer and ask for some changes and improvements.

In case the answer is not adequate and adequately satisfactory, be aware that you can always resort to the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT), stating that the current conditions put your health at risk.

On the other hand, if you have symptoms of an illness aggravated or caused by high temperatures, you can also opt for low (upon presentation of a medical certificate).

And if you wonder whether changes in legislation can be implemented that prevent work in the presence of extremely high temperatures, know that no legislative changes are currently being discussed.

In fact, Portugal is a country that easily reaches temperatures above 30 degrees in the months of July and August. However, if this heat becomes abnormal, frequent and exaggerated, it is likely that protective measures will need to be created or modified.

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