As you may remember, last week we brought you part one of the Toilet and Washroom FAQ’s, thanks to WorkSmart. This week, we’ll be bringing you part two with the remaining frequently asked questions when it comes to HSE regulations and the rights of employees to sanitation facilities in their place of work. Here’s part two of the Toilet and washroom FAQ’s;
I have a disability; does my employer have to provide an accessible toilet? This is an absolute yes! Both the Approved Code of Practice and the HSE regulations 1992 require that an employer make provisions for workers with disabilities for all facilities. On top of this, you’ll also find yourself privy to rights under the Equality Act 2010.
I have a medical issue that requires me to take regular toilet breaks. Can my employer stop this? You may have read in the Toilet and Washroom FAQ’s: Part One that the law surrounding toilet breaks is actually pretty vague. Despite this however, you do have the right to use the toilet facilities if you need to due to a medical condition.
Can my employer dock my wages if I nip to the loo? Yet again, this is another area where the law remains a little hazy. There have been many cases where an employer has actually (unjustly) docked the wages of an employee for taking too many loo breaks and the “powers that be” are looking to make some legal changes. For the time being however, employers may be able to deduct money if your contract has a clause stating that you aren’t paid for toilet breaks or if you’re absent from work for too long. If in doubt, check your contract first.
Do I have to ask my immediate superior permission to use the toilet? As ridiculous as it may seem, there have been cases in the past where workers have been humiliated by having to ask for permission to use the loo. This is especially the case in high-pressured jobs such as at call-centres. What’s more, this is another area where the law remains unclear and another area where changes are being pushed for.
If I wear specialist work clothing, does my employer need to provide a changing room? Yes they do. Thanks in part to the HSE regulations, employers are now required to provide changing rooms if their workers need to change into or out of specialist clothing. They must also provide changing rooms if their employees need to remove more than their outer clothing or protect their own clothing from getting damaged by harmful or dangerous substances. Not only do changing rooms need to be provided but they must also hold adequate seating facilities as well as facilities that offer privacy. If showers are provided, then these must be situated directly adjacent so that employees aren’t forced to walk back and forth between them. The term special clothing is any clothing that wouldn’t ordinarily be worn for work and one that’s designed specifically for the employee’s work place, such as a uniform.
Should my employer provide drinking water? Yes they should. This is an area of the law that’s very clear when it comes to the duty of the employer. An employer must provide you with drinking water at work. The HSE regulations state that an adequate supply of drinking water has to be provided and should be readily available too. This can be provided in the form of cups or a drinking fountain.
For more information on everything regarding toilets in the workplace and what you need to do to stay on the right side of the law, contact us here at euroloo for more information.