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Just as employers recover from the Euros and tennis… here we go again!

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Just as employers recover from the Euros and tennis... here we go again!


It doesn’t seem long since we warned employers to plan ahead of the Summer of sport, but look where we are now: out of the Euros, Murray a two-times Wimbledon champion, Hamilton the British Grand Prix winner and Froome (currently) leading the general classification in the Tour de France.

If you’re an employer and still seething about a recent surge of employee absences, you could be forgiven for not looking forward to the Olympics!

Absences from work or employees leaving early to watch their sporting heroes can take a toll on business hours and the bottom line. If you missed your chance to set down some reasonable ground rules earlier this Summer, then think about doing a little planning ahead of the Olympics.


Employers should be pro-active – plan ahead!

Think about what you are prepared to allow in advance of the major events and find a way for your sports loving employees to watch the competitions – and get their hours in.


Consider the following, for example:

  • Circulate your workplace policies on absence and holidays as a reminder. (If you don’t have such policies, consider creating them for the future.)
  • Set up temporary flexible working arrangements to allow employees to watch key events.  For example, non-sports fans might consider swapping key viewing hours with their colleagues. Or employees might come into work early to allow an early finish.
  • Tell employees in advance that requests for absence must comply with your usual holiday procedures and be compatible with business needs.
  • Confirm that you will apply the usual disciplinary procedures should employees turn up to work late or suffering the effects of excessive alcohol.
  • Remind employees that downloading recordings of matches and sports programmes to watch at work is in breach of TV licensing laws. It might also be in breach of your information technology policies.


Avoid discrimination claims

When you are considering requests for leave or flexible working, be mindful of not discriminating in favour of one group over another. For example, employers might risk discrimination claims if they allow supporters of one national team to take time off to watch their matches – but not other teams’ supporters.


Use the sporting enthusiasm to boost morale

There are easy things you can to boost the morale in your workplace during sporting competitions. For example, if it’s practical, you could provide access to a TV at key times.



To discuss employment contracts or issues arising with non-compete clauses, please contact Susan Mayall on 0161 684 6948 or email


Posted: 19 July 2016

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.

Written by Susan Mayall


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