It’s feelgood time. This weekend we will be celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee with the customary bunting, cupcakes and rousing song. Just 55 days later, the greatest show on Earth arrives when the Olympics kicks off.
After such a bad start to the year, what with double dip recession and little sign of a significant upturn in employment, this is surely welcome news. We desperately need confidence. But will these events be good news for business?
Food industry employers should benefit from rising sales of snacks and beer, but have they considered the impact of the Olympics on employees? Many will want to watch major events. There may be an increase in sickies. Requests for time off could mushroom. Are you ready? Balancing employee desires and the needs of the business in such circumstances is tricky. So here is my quick guide to dealing with the Olympics.
Under statutory law, individual requests for holiday can be refused and you do not have to justify this decision. But if an employee has been lucky enough to get tickets you should grant holiday, if only because refusal will damage motivation and loyalty. Given the Olympics is only in the UK once or twice in a lifetime, it may be worth considering flexible working.
Allowing staff to watch some of the main events on the premises may generate goodwill and limit the number of sick days taken. But employers should make sure employees who are not interested in the events are not distracted and, if possible, are awarded similar perks.
Bear in mind the fact there may be events that are more significant to employees of different nationalities.
As for employees who are constantly watching events and checking results online, this could be gross misconduct so it’s worth warning employees in advance what levels of usage will and will not be tolerated.
For more information on the employer’s legal position check out our legal blog here.
The Olympics may be a distraction for staff. But a relaxed policy may create more motivated and productive employees in the longer term. So here’s to a celebratory summer. A toast to the Queen, good luck to our athletes and fingers crossed for business.