‘Early spring’ to continue in Germany over weekend

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), this February weekend will be springlike - with temperatures in the two-digits around the country.

'Early spring' to continue in Germany over weekend
Crocuses bloom on a meadow in the Rhine Park in Düsseldorf on Friday. Photo: DPA

This holds especially true in the west and southwest, where the mercury could shoot up to 13 degrees on Saturday. Karlsruhe residents can make use of the country’s first outdoor swimming pool of the season, which opened on Friday.

SEE ALSO: Germany's first outdoor pool to open as temperatures reach 20C

On Friday, east of the Elbe river, temperatures were increasingly sunny in the afternoon. From Thuringia and Saxony to Bavaria, there was a bit of snow and drizzle. Skiers will be pleased to know that there’s a fresh layer of snow in the Alps.

Since a weather phenomenon known as “Frauke” is moving in with a fresh east wind, cold and dry mainland air prevails despite plenty of sunshine, according to meteorologists.

In the northeast of Germany, temperatures won’t rise above three to five degrees Celsius, and in the night to Sunday, some typically freezing February temperatures could occur.

However many people around Germany can let their guard, and winter jacket, down on Sunday. During the day and at the beginning of the week, it’s likely to be sunny and rather mild. 'Kaiserwetter' – or when barely a cloud is spotted in the blissful blue sky – will prevail in many parts of Germany.

SEE ALSO: German word of the day: Das Kaiserwetter

The temperatures should lie mostly between 9 and 14 degrees – and at the beginning of coming week, the mercury in west Germany could shoot up to a very pleasant 17 degrees.

“The spring seems to want to nest itself with us already one week before meteorological spring beginning,” said DWD Meteorologist Magdalena Bertelmann in view of these prospects.

For the meteorologists, spring will begin on March 1st. It’s official starting date in 2019 is March 20th.

'Wetter24' shows the temperature divide between east and much warmer west Germany on Friday.

It will follow a winter which was “too mild”, according to DWD.

“February was probably the eleventh month in a row that was too warm compared to the reference period,” said DWD spokesman Gerhard Lux.

Temperatures between 1961 to 1990 had stayed relatively similar, only fluctuating between 0.2 degrees. Yet this reference point had been exceeded by an average of about two degrees in December, January and February.

SEE ALSO: Spring in February? Winter temperatures as high as 15C to hit Germany


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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?