Tabloid BZ reported that the head of the Berlin office for tax evasion investigations sent an email to his employees saying: "Everyone should decide for themselves if they feel up to working in these temperatures.”
In the email printed by BZ, Erik Schliephake added: "This decision should be taken before you pass out ... Taking time off work today could in many cases be a wise decision which would have my full understanding.”
Schliephake signed off: "With greetings bathed in sweat.”
The email was sent out on Monday, when Berlin was baking in 37-degree Celsius heat. This July is on course to be the hottest on record and the hottest month in as many as 110 years, with temperatures frequently soaring above 30 degrees.
Repeated attempts by news agency AFP to contact the tax office in question went unanswered.
The German Weather Service (DWD), meanwhile, forecast Friday afternoon to be a scorcher in the east of the country with high temperatures hitting 37 degrees. Other parts of the country would be more comfortable. The temperature in the northwest would peak at 29 degrees.
“An end to this hot spell is not in sight for the moment!” said DWD meteorologist Dorothea Paetzold.
But storms, driven by low pressure system “Petra,” would again move across the country, hitting the south late on Friday and eastern regions by Saturday afternoon, Paetzold said. Highs on Saturday will range from 25 degrees in the west to 31 degrees in the east.
Petra will bring cooler air but will be quickly followed by high pressure system “Beowulf,” which will bring sunny, though not too hot, conditions on Sunday, with the centre of the country likely to be the warmest with highs of about 26 degrees.
Temperatures are set to start climbing again on Monday before fresh storms arrive around Wednesday.