Are Your Employees Entitled to a Kitchen in The Workplace?

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In most workplaces, you’ll find that there is a kitchen, of some capacity, provided to employees including items such as a microwave, plates, cutlery and a fridge – at the very least.

Whilst it is nice to have access to these provisions when at least a quarter of our day is spent at work, is it a legal requirement?

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states that staff are entitled to rest and eating facilities but they don’t specifically mention a kitchen; more so, just an area away from employee work spaces that is clean and allows them to eat without risk of contaminating their food.

In that case, no – 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.

Do My Staff Need a Fridge in the Office?

There is no legal duty for employers to provide their staff with a fridge except in the case of a new mother who may need it to store breast milk. If an employee requests a fridge for this reason, then under Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, you are required to do provide it.

Most employers do make the decision to purchase a fridge for the workplace to keep their employees happy and enable them to store food and milk for hot drinks.

It doesn’t have to be a massive expense or take up a lot of space especially if you have very few employees, in that case you may only need a mini fridge.

If you do provide a fridge for your staff, then you must make sure that it is cleaned and emptied on a regular basis to avoid food contamination.

Should I Provide My Staff with a Kitchen?

Though it may not be required by law, you probably should consider having a kitchen – even a very basic one – in the workplace for good practice.

It has been shown that having a kitchen at work creates a more comfortable atmosphere and alleviates any stress of having to go out and buy lunch or coffees. The convenience of having access to the essentials that a kitchen provides can make for a happier, and healthier, workforce.

A kitchen doesn’t have to be a mammoth addition, it could simply include a fridge, microwave, a few cupboards for plates, mugs and cutlery, a kettle and a seating area.

If you have any questions or concerns when it comes to workplace issues, from HR to Health and Safety, then we have qualified consultants on hand to assist you 24/7.

Just call us on 0845 2626 260 to book a free consultation and find out more about our services.

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