The 2012 Olympics are six months away and employers are encouraged to start planning now for possible disruptions. Recent surveys indicate that up to one in six of the UK’s employees is planning on pulling a “sickie” to watch the Olympics on television. That includes employees in Northern Ireland. What then can employers do now to try to avoid any potential disruption?
Employers concerned about possible disruption caused by employee absence should consider reminding staff of their policies on attendance and flexible working. Employers may wish to consider:
• encouraging staff to put in any leave requests early and explaining to staff how such requests will be dealt with – eg on a “first come, first served” basis
• reminding staff that being dishonest about sickness absence is a disciplinary offence and will be dealt with in accordance with the disciplinary procedure
• telling staff what the policy will be on watching Olympic coverage on work computers and considering whether to show popular sporting events on a television during agreed times.
ACAS, the equivalent body in England & Wales to the Labour Relations Agency, has published some guidance for employers preparing for the Olympics and plans to publish further advice during 2012 on its website: http://www.acas.org.uk.
If you have any queries or require advice on attendance or flexible working policies please do not hesitate to contact us.