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WEATHER

Temperatures of 30C predicted in Germany in June

The mild month of May has brought chilly temperatures around the country - but that's slated to change as of June.

Temperatures of 30C predicted in Germany in June
A beach-goer eats an ice cream at Wannsee, a lake near Berlin, a few summers ago. Photo: DPA

Through May, there has only been sporadic sun amid rain, wind and even severe storms. But after weathering the last week of May, temperatures will rise over the weekend. 

On Tuesday, heavy rain flooded the streets of Dortmund, hail storms hit nearby Bochum and rain poured down on much of the west and southwest, with the downpour not predicted to let up until Wednesday evening. 

The northern parts of the country were warmer, but still cloudy, with temperatures not exceeding 20C.

But from Wednesday onwards, the mercury will head upwards. On Thursday, the public holiday of Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day), the German Weather Service (DWD) predicted clouds and slight rain in the west and northwest, warm temperatures of up to 24C in the east, and rainy temperatures not exceeding 17C degrees in the south.

Flooding in Dortmund on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Yet as the weekend edges closer, the temperatures will begin to rise. A draft of warm air from the Mediterranean is coming to Germany, causing temperatures to spike significantly, according to DWD.

By Sunday, summer temperatures upwards of 25C will be reached around most of the country, with the Mercury expected to hover just below 20C at the windy Baltic Sea. 

Reaching the 30C mark 

That’s only the beginning of a wave of warmth, report meteorologists, as temperatures are expected to increase even more in the coming week.

By Wednesday, the 30C mark will be reached or exceeded in many regions, including in notoriously windy northern Germany. Throughout the country, temperatures are predicted to stay in at least the high 20s C during the first week of June. 

The heat wave could last one to two weeks, also bringing with it heavy summer thunderstorms.

Meteorologists at the German Weather Service (DWD) are warning that the temperatures could become even more extreme in Germany than the summer of 2018, the warmest year on record.

Parts of Germany were met with severe drought – drying up rivers and affecting agriculture – and generating quickly-spreading forest fires.

SEE ALSO: Germany records hottest year in over a century

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READER QUESTIONS

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?

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