Tuesday set to be hottest day of the year so far in Germany

Germany was set for a scorcher on Tuesday, with temperatures expected to reach 30C in some places.

Tuesday set to be hottest day of the year so far in Germany
People gather at Tegernsee in Bavaria on Monday June 1st. Photo: DPA

It comes after warm and sunny weather during the Whitsun long weekend, prompting fears that residents would drop their guard and ignore social distancing rules.

Forecasters said Tuesday was set to be the warmest day of the year so far with blue skies almost everywhere.

A meteorologist from the German Weather Service (DWD) said on Monday that the 30C mark could be broken for the first time in 2020.

Across most of the country, high temperatures are expected. However in the east, at the Oder and Neisse rivers, it could become cloudy with some rain or thunderstorms.

The DWD said the chances of the temperature reaching – or even topping – 30C were highest at the Lower Rhine in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the southern Emsland and in Münsterland. About 29C was expected in Cologne, Bonn and Koblenz.

In Berlin and Stuttgart it was set to reach 26C, while the mercury was expected to reach 23C in Munich.

The highest temperature recorded so far this year in Germany was 29C on May 21st and 22nd.


Weather set to change

People living in Germany should enjoy the warmth while it's here – because on Wednesday things will start to change.

Over the course of the day, it is expected to become increasingly cloudy from the west, and there may also be showers, although the mercury will still hover around 24 to 28C.

On Thursday it will likely get much cooler and humid.

“That's quite a distinctive jump,” said the DWD meteorologist.

According to weather experts, summer officially began on Monday June 1st.

On Friday the DWD presented its preliminary results for spring 2020. According to their report, spring in Germany was one of the sunniest since the beginning of weather records and, as in previous years, quite warm.

At 9.2C, the average temperature was 1.5 degrees above the value for the internationally valid reference period 1961 to 1990.

At the same time, spring was too dry. With around 108 litres of precipitation per square metre, only 50 percent of the long-term average rain fell.

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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?