Sporting Season and in particular 2012 Olympics - What are Employers advised to do?
4th May 2011
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Joy Arkley of the HR Dept West Wales once again has come up with timely advice for Employers.  This time she covers the Sporting Season with particular emphasis on the Olympics next year.

With tickets for the 2012 Olympics already on sale, there are some 6.6 million tickets ranging between £20 and £2012 are available. But what rules can an employer lay down about people watching games or failing to show for work following a night of celebrations?

One-third of large companies plan to allow staff flexible working during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to research from Deloitte. 32% of companies surveyed said that they would be happy for employees to take time off work to see the games and catch up on lost hours at the beginning and end of the day, with 44% saying that they would encourage staff to attend the games.

Joy Arkley,  advises that “employers cannot simply ignore the fact that there is an incredible amount of interest in certain games and people will want to take the time to watch them, therefore it is better to plan for them as opposed to an employer digging their heels in and hoping that any problems will not occur.”

Equally so, not everyone will be so enthusiastic, so there has be consistency in an employer’s approach to what they do about any employee taking time off to watch a game.

Joy says “if an employee wants to book time off to watch a game, they should make the request for holiday in line with a Company’s holiday procedure, if you are unable to accommodate the request give the reason why and rearrange for another time. A different approach could be for an employer to introduce a flexitime policy during this period, but you must ensure they treat everyone the same and make sure the business can still operate.”

The biggest frustration for any business will be if employees start to pull sickies prior to or following a game, an employer has the right to investigate any absence, it will be dependent on their contract of employment as to whether they are paid any sick pay or not. Any absence that is proved not to be genuine, may lead to disciplinary action and this should be communicated to all staff.

Here are The HR Dept’s top five tips for surviving the sporting season.

1. Be clear and consistent about time off for the games, whether it is holiday or flexi time.
2. Respect that not everyone is bothered about the Olympics.
3. Communicate your absence policy and spell out the consequences if someone does pull a sickie.
4. Respect that not everyone supports the same country or sport.
5. It only happens every four years, so it is good to plan for these types of events!

The HR Dept West Wales specialises in advising small and medium sized businesses on all employment issues.  Joy holds HR Administration half day Seminars - ideal for small business owners who do not have an HR department.  For more details call Joy on 01239 639 128 or email

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