Workplace rights: The Olympics

With the countdown to the London Olympics well underway, managers need to start thinking about employment issues that could affect their business.

by Michael Burd and James Davies

The trick is to tap into the potential for boosting staff morale while minimising disruption. As a priority, employers should consider arrangements for employees who volunteer to work at the Olympics (known as 'Games Makers'), particularly in relation to time off for training. Organisations should plan ahead for dealing with multiple holiday requests next summer and their approach to flexible working arrangements such as early start/finish times, shift-swapping and making time up in lieu. Policies on unauthorised absence should also be dusted down - a recent survey by the recruiter Badenoch & Clark found that one in six people would consider taking a 'sickie' to watch London 2012. Another issue is the line to take on employees watching events at work, including streaming live internet footage at their desks. Finally, employers should prepare for travel disruption during the Games by reviewing attendance policies, considering remote working and making contingency plans for staff shortfalls.

- Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors, email: employment@lewissilkin.com

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