Get your business ready for Rio!

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Aug 5 2016

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Is your business prepared for the Olympics?

The 2016 Olympic Games officially start today, with the opening ceremony due to take place at Rio’s Maracana Stadium at midnight BST. With athletes from 206 different countries due to compete, and events taking place between 5th and 21st August, the majority will be screened at night due to the time difference between Brazil and the UK.

Despite this, a survey conducted by HR consultancy ELAS Ltd still suggests that absenteeism figures can rise by up to 20% during any major sporting events, so it is vital that you have a plan in place in order to minimise potential disruption to your business.

The main areas to pay specific attention to include:

Annual Leave Requests

Legally, employees have no rights to time off for sporting events (ACAS), so it is important they know to make requests for annual leave in the normal way, with all standard terms still applying. If you find you have a sudden influx of leave requests during the Olympic period, consider operating on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Try to be as fair as possible, but ensure that employees understand you have a right to refuse any leave requests that could impact on business productivity. Where annual leave cannot be granted, consider whether you could allow some flexibility around working hours instead, e.g. allowing people to finish earlier or later, or make up time taken to watch a match at a later date.

Sickness Absence

Refresh yourself and your employees on the terms and conditions of your company sickness policy – if they know you are actively monitoring sickness absences, you’ll be far less likely to see a sudden increase during the Olympic Games.

Control short-term absences by addressing the situation – if you feel the sickness absence is not genuine, look at historic absence patterns, conduct thorough Return to Work interviews, and consider starting an investigation procedure in the normal manner. Strictly enforce Unauthorised Absence policies, making it clear to employees that a failure to notify the company when sick could result in them not being paid, or even trigger a disciplinary procedure.

Social Media and Internet Usage

Anticipate an increase in the use of social networking and sporting sites during the 2016 Olympics. With staff potentially wanting to keep up to date with scoring, it would be advisable to refresh your business on the terms and conditions of your internet usage policy. A web policy should clearly lay out what acceptable usage looks like.

If you decide to actively monitor web usage during the tournament period, then data protection rules mean all employees have a right to be informed.

Top tips for your business: 

  • Nominate line managers to monitor games and distribute internal updates, or make group announcements using HR software
  • Think about implementing a flexitime policy on key match days, giving employees the option to make up time taken at a later date
  • Consider granting extra unpaid annual leave, as long as this doesn’t negatively impact on workforce levels or disrupt overall business productivity

Are you concerned about effectively managing employee absence? If so, we can help! Call us directly on 0113 230 8600, or visit our website to speak to a member of the team and discover what our HR and payroll software could do for you.


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