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WEATHER

Summer returns to Germany as temperatures up to 30C forecast

Packed away your shorts and t-shirts already? It's time to dig them out again as summer makes its comeback.

Summer returns to Germany as temperatures up to 30C forecast
A dog enjoying recent sunshine in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA

Going by the recent cloudy skies, showers and thunderstorms, many may have feared that summer had long gone. But the weather is set to improve steadily over the coming days.

READ ALSO: Commuters face major disruption as storms lash Germany  

Warm temperatures that could climb as high as 30C are expected in parts of Germany at the end of the week and next week. 

It will be some relief for those in Germany who have been experiencing severe weather. A warning for heavy rain in the south was still in place on Tuesday.

But according to the German Weather Service (DWD), from Wednesday the mercury is set to rise in most parts of the country, with highs of about 21 to 25C forecast. In the southeast of Germany it will remain chilly at around 17 to 21C. 

And from Thursday, the hot temperatures return in full force. It will be around 22 to 28C and the sun is set to shine. 

On Friday temperatures could even rise to 30C in some places, especially in the west, central and some parts of east Germany, including Berlin. 

The weekend is also set to be stunning with lots of sunshine and high temperatures. 

However, forecasters say it will become cooler at night so remember to take a light jacket out with you. There is a small risk of thunderstorms in the Alps area, according to DWD. 

 

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

Germany has regulations on working during a heatwave - but does that also apply to people who work remotely? We take a look.

Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

The number of people working from home shot up during the Covid pandemic, and though employees no longer have the right to work remotely by law, many have chosen to stick with more flexible arrangements and set up a home office at least part of the week.

This is great news for people who enjoy a lie-in more than a long commute, but there are some downsides. One major issue is that it’s not always clear how Germany’s strict employee protection rules actually apply in a home setting. The rules for working during a heatwave are a good example of this.

How does Germany regulate working in extreme heat? 

By law in Germany, employers are responsible for creating a safe environment for their workers. This means that they should try and keep the temperature below 26C at all times and are legally obliged to take action if the temperature goes above 30C. 

That could include putting blinds on the windows to prevent the glare of the sun, installing air conditioning systems or purchasing fans. In some cases – such as outdoor manual labour – it could also involve starting and finishing earlier in the day. 

And in really high temperatures, employers may simply decide to call the whole thing off and give their employees a ‘hitzefrei’ day – basically a heat-induced day off – to go and cool down in a lake. However, business owners are generally given free rein to decide how hot is too hot in this instance (except in the case of vulnerable workers). 

READ ALSO: Hitzefrei: Is it ever legally too hot to go to work or school in Germany?

Do the heat rules apply to ‘home office?’

Unfortunately not. In most cases in Germany, the company isn’t directly involved in setting up the workspace for an employee that works from home, aside from possibly providing a laptop or phone for remote use. 

“The occupational health and safety regulations regarding room temperature do not apply in this case,” labour law expert Meike Brecklinghaus told German business publication T3N. “This is because the employer does not have direct access to the employee’s workplace and in this respect cannot take remedial action.”

That means that on hot days, it’s the employee’s own responsibility to make sure the environment is suitable for working in. 

woman works from home in Germany

A woman works in her living room at home. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Naupold

One duty employers do have, however, is to instruct their workers about the best way to set up a healthy work environment at home, for example by giving guidance on how to regulate the temperature. 

“In the end, it is the employee’s responsibility to maintain his or her workplace in a condition in which he or she can perform his or her work without the threat of health impairments,” Brecklinghaus explained.

What can home office workers do in hot weather?

There are plenty of ways to keep flats cooler in the summer months, including purchasing your own fan, keeping curtains or blinds drawn and ventilating the rooms in the evening or early morning when the weather is cooler.

However, if heat is really becoming a problem, it’s a good idea to communicate this to your employer. This is especially important if you have a health condition that makes it more dangerous to work in hot weather. 

In some cases, you might be able to negotiate for the employer to pay for the purchase of a fan or mobile air conditioner as goodwill gesture. If possible, you could also arrange to travel to the office where the temperature should be better regulated.

Another option for early birds or night owls is to arrange more flexible working hours so you can avoid sweltering at your desk in the midday sun, although this of course depends on operational factors. 

READ ASO: Jobs in Germany: Should foreign workers join a union?

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