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INSIGHT: Employers Should Plan Ahead For A Summer Of Sport warns Susan Mayall

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ROYAL Ascot week officially marks the start of a summer of sport which for employers can be a tricky time with absences from work or early finish times to catch crucial matches and events.

Wimbledon, The Ashes, Formula 1, The Open Golf, Women’s World Cup Football, the Rugby World Cup and the start of the Premier League could all be responsible for lost man hours and for employers this can be a tricky time, although good performances from our teams could boost morale.

Susan Mayall, employment law expert said employers should decide now what their strategy for the summer of sport is going to be.

“Employees may want time off to attend sporting events or could ask for flexible working to catch key events and matches,” said Susan.
“Employers should also be prepared for increased “sick days” coinciding with big games or events and the inevitable loss in productivity that could follow,” she warned.

“Whilst we all want to celebrate success, another potential Wimbledon win for Murray and maybe even a good England performance on the field, whether it be cricket, football or rugby, 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 big events and have TVs in the workplace or make allowances and this can boost staff morale, for example during World Cups and Olympics, but for many this is not practical and I would urge all Oldham employers to plan ahead and review their employment policies,” said Susan.

For information on your employment policies and contracts please consult Susan Mayall on 0161 785 3500 or email susan.mayall@pearsonlegal.co.uk

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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