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Plan ahead and summer of sport could benefit your business

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A summer of sport is ahead of us and whilst the country goes sport mad for just a few weeks and we bask in the high and lows of Olympic success or face the dreaded Euro penalties and 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 European Cup, Wimbledon and not forgetting the big one, the London Olympics, will 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.

Ken Lees, employment law expert at Oldham’s leading commercial law firm Pearson Hinchliffe, said employers should decide now what their strategy for the summer of sport is going to be.

“Employees may want time off to attend or indeed volunteer at the Olympic Games, or will ask for flexible working to catch key events and the early Euro 2012 kick offs,” said Ken.

“Employers should also be prepared for increased “sick days” coinciding with big games or events and the inevitable loss in productivity that could follow,” he warned.  “Whilst we all want to celebrate success, a haul of medals and maybe even a good England performance, 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 the summer of sport,” said Ken.

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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.

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