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Staffroom in September?

Discussion in 'Staff, pupil & parent's wellbeing' started by nellspencer, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. nellspencer

    nellspencer New commenter

    Does anyone know the legalities about having a kettle/microwave available for heating food and drink? The furniture from our staffroom has been moved to create more space so that we can stay socially distanced when we return to school, but at the moment we will not be allowed to use the microwave or kettle.
  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Someone's having a laugh.
  3. nellspencer

    nellspencer New commenter

    It's not us laughing at the moment. There is only so long that a flask of drink can stay hot and otherwise there is no way to heat up food.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The legalities? There aren't any. There's no a requirement to have staffroom.

    I have a feeling there is some requirement in H&S law for allowing somewhere for staff to eat their lunch. Not sure what the details of that are.

    EDIT Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 paragraph 25. Somewhere to eat meals must be provided. Although in a school presumably that could in the dining room, doesn't have to be in the staff room.

    HSE guidance on the Regulations says:

    Where provided, eating facilities should include a facility for preparing or obtaining a hot drink. Where hot food cannot be obtained in or reasonably near to the workplace, workers may need to be provided with a means for heating their own food (eg microwave oven). Canteens or restaurants may be used as rest facilities provided there is no obligation to purchase food.
    Consult your union!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
    agathamorse and nellspencer like this.
  5. nellspencer

    nellspencer New commenter

    This is all that I have found so far:

    Employees are not legally entitled to a kitchen. The only kitchen appliance that could be deemed a legal requirement is a microwave. Workers must be able to access hot food whilst at work, and if there is no place to obtain this near to or on the premises, then a microwave should be provided.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. nellspencer

    nellspencer New commenter

    For the first weeks in school the kitchen will not be providing hot meals for children and the cost of a school meal is not cost effective if you work it out as a weekly amount.
  7. nellspencer

    nellspencer New commenter

    Thank you. Our classes will be eating in their rooms and we have an area to eat (the hall will become an enlarged staffroom)
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  9. nellspencer

    nellspencer New commenter

    In that publication it says...
    What arrangements should I make for meal breaks? There should be a suitable seating area for workers to use during breaks _ it needs to be clean and located where food will not get contaminated.
    There should be washing facilities nearby, and a means of heating food or water for hot drinks. You must maintain good hygiene standards.
  10. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Established commenter

    Further to this, the place to eat must be away from the location where you normally work i.e. away from the kids!
  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The problem here @nellspencer is a potential conflict between the longstanding workplace H&S regualtions and the temporary coronavirus regulations.

    As you have found out the H&S regulations say there should be somewhere to make hot drinks and somewhere to heat food, and until now your school has complied with that.

    Now they are saying that, in the specific context of your school, they can't provide those facilities and comply with coronavirus law and guidance. You may not agree with them, but I suspect that will be their position.

    I have no idea which law takes priority - and anyway a better solution would be to find a way to organise the staffroom so that both can be complied with.

    Your way forward must be to involve your union.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That's not a requirement unless where the kids are would mean your food is likely to be contaminated!


    Although it does raise an entirely separate issue that under STPCD staff can't be required to do lunchtime supervision duties [para 52.2] and must have a reasonable break [52.3].
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Established commenter

    Law states that employees have the right to an uninterrupted break of at least 20 minutes away from the place they actually work/ workstation. I feel that, in the case of schools, that entitles staff to have a private place away from the children to eat so they don’t feel obliged to control misbehaviour.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. Penguin47

    Penguin47 New commenter

    Just get your own microwave PAT tested and bring it in. :D
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Yes, that's the STPCD paragraph 52.3 I referenced.

    But there's no requirement that you must eat your lunch away from your kids/workstation. Only that you must get a 20 minute break from them. So if OP is required to eat lunch with the children and then gets a 20 minute (minimum) break that complies with employment law.

    How it complies with STPCD 52.2 - teachers cannot be required to do mid-day supervision - is another matter. And the eating with the children in the classroom time must be within Directed Time 1265 hours.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. shevington2

    shevington2 New commenter

    Go off site.
  17. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    At a MAT I worked for, we were not permitted to go off site at lunchtime. This isn't an option for lots of teachers.
  18. shevington2

    shevington2 New commenter

    I am sorry to hear that. Professionals not being treated with respect. I suspect that this does not apply to Senior Staff.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    What is their reasoning for not having kettles or microwaves?
    Or is it merely that the kitchen usually housing these things is out of bounds as it is too small?

    If the hall is the new staffroom and children are eating in classrooms, then presumably there is a plug somewhere in the hall where you could use a kettle?
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    And some employers encourage their staff to take a stroll at lunchtime, as it's better for their mental and physical health...apparently it can help you sleep better, means you're less likely to be overweight an a gym instructor said it could even reduce the chance of serious diseases such as cancer/heart attack.

    To answer OP, this will probably be one of the many things HTs are struggling to deal with-there might-or might not- be more guidance-and it could be a moot point anyway, if even the DM are discussing a second wave coming soon!

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