With the HSE very much in full swing, a number of employers had a great deal of questions when it came to what their legal responsibilities were and what they should and shouldn’t be doing. This was a topic we covered in great depth within our blog posts however, one area that might not have been very clear were the rights of the employee themselves. These often get called into question when employers aren’t providing the necessary facilities – another subject we covered last week in “One in five SME’s offer sub-standard toilets”. To clear things up a little for all employees out there, we’re going to look at some FAQ’s thanks to WorkSmart. Here’s part one of the Toilet and washroom FAQ’s;
Is it a legal requirement for my employer to provide a toilet at my place of work? The short answer to this is an unquestionable yes. Your employer needs to provide in the very least one toilet for your workplace. However they must also provide separate toilets for men and women if both sexes are within the working space. Roughly, 1-5 workers require 1 toilet. 6-25 workers require 2 toilets. 26-50 workers require 3 toilets. 51-75 workers need 4 toilets and 76-100 workers require 5 toilets. These are all a minimum guideline. If there are different toilets being used by different groups of workers then the calculations need to be done separately. Likewise, if the public uses the toilets also, then the numbers must be increased in order to prevent unnecessary queuing.
Do I have the right to use the toilet during my working hours? You might be surprised to learn that when it comes to a natural and might we add, normal bodily function such as this, the law still remains quite unclear however you do have a right to a 20 minute break if you work more than six hours a day and therefore have quite a clear right to use the loo during this time. If however, you have a medical condition that requires you take toilet breaks at times outside of your break then your employer cannot legally deny you the right. Currently, there’s pressure for legal change on this issue so it’s a matter of simply waiting.
The toilet/washroom is dirty. Doesn’t my employer have to keep it in better shape? Despite there being cloudiness surrounding your right to use it, when it comes to the maintenance of it, the law is very clear. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations states they need to be kept in a clean and orderly condition. It also states that toilet paper and coat hooks must be provided along with a supply of clean hot and cold water. They must also provide soap and towels or at least another means of drying your hands as well as adequate lighting and protection from the elements. If this isn’t the case then they need to act now.
Does an employer have to provide separate toilet facilities for men and women? Absolutely, yes. Employers must provide separate rooms containing toilets for both males and females. The toilets used by women must also contain the necessary facilities to dispose of sanitary products.
Watch this space for the second installment of “Toilet and washroom FAQ’s” – until then, please feel free to contact us here at euroloo for more information.