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INSIGHT: Employers Need To Plan Ahead For A Summer Of Sport

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A SUMMER of sport is ahead of us and whilst the country goes sport mad for just a few weeks with the high and lows of Olympic success or face the dreaded Euro penalties and a wash out at Wimbledon, for employers it can be a tricky time with absences from work or early finish times to catch crucial kick offs.

The Euros start on June 10th, followed by Wimbledon and not forgetting the big one, the Rio Olympics, with its associated time differences, and all will be responsible for lost man hours.  For employers this can be a tricky time.

With some football matches taking place during or close to many employees’ normal working hours, employers need to plan ahead to minimise potential disruption.  England and Wales have been drawn together in the same group and face each other on Thursday 16 June at 2.00pm, scheduling that is sure to provide a headache for many employers.

Susan Mayall, head of employment at Pearson Solicitors said employers should decide now what their strategy for the summer of sport is going to be.

Employees may want time off or will ask for flexible working to catch key events and Euro kick offs and must also be prepared for increased “sick days” coinciding with big games or events and the inevitable loss in productivity that could follow,” she warned.  “By setting out in advance how annual leave requests will be dealt with, employers can manage staff expectations. Whilst we all want to celebrate success it would be wise for employers to think ahead and plan for the summer of sport.”

Ideally employers should make it clear that requests for absence will be in line with usual holiday procedures and will be in line with business needs.  Employers must be aware of the risk of discrimination claims if employees believe they are being denied time off to watch their national team in favour of other employees.

Employees should be reminded that usual disciplinary procedures will apply and the effects of excessive alcohol will not be tolerated.  It may also be prudent to make employees aware that downloading sports to watch at work is in breach of TV licensing laws and may be in breach of the employer’s IT policy.

Employers could consider flexible working during key events and shift swopping with non-sports fans.

“Some employers will go out of their way to create a good feeling around such events and have TVs in the workplace or make allowances and this can boost staff morale, for others this is not practical and I would urge all Oldham employers to plan ahead so that they can enjoy all the events on offer,” said Susan.

 

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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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