In practice, neither employers nor employees want to use this opportunity.
The nationwide trade union organisation OPZZ has for years been trying to push legislation imposing a workplace temperature cap. OPZZ Vice President Sebastian Koćwin told “Rzeczpospolita” they think 30 degrees Celsius should be the maximum allowed at the workplace. Occupational safety and health specialists and experts agree – temperature should not exceed 30 degrees in office rooms, 28 degrees for hard work in large facilities, or 26 degrees for work in special conditions.
When can you rest?
Article 139 of the Labour Code permits a split-shift system while Article 141 confers the right to a one-hour break. Experts say there is also an option to agree an unpaid break during work, but the main issue is that there is no interest in using those arrangements because after the break you have to come back to work and stay longer.
In 2022, OPZZ requested the Ministry for the Family and Social Policy to issue legislation imposing a temperature cap which, when exceeded, would give the employee the right to demand that the employer offer them special solutions to protect their health.
Current law says the employer must provide their employees with charge-free cool drinks if indoor temperature in their premises exceeds 28 degrees Celsius. If the work is being done outdoor, this requirement applies when the temperature exceeds 25 degrees.
There is currently no regulation precisely pinpointing any maximum temperature allowing workers to stop working during the day or period, whether indoor or outdoor. While the OPZZ unions focus their efforts on legislating a maximum temperature, they are far from pressing for the introduction in Poland of an afternoon siesta, as in Greece or Italy.
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