Olympics 2012: What employers need to know

It is not long until the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games come to London, with the Olympic Games running from 27 July to 12 August 2012, followed by the Paralympic Games from 29 August to 9 September. The Games will inevitably affect employers in the UK, especially those based in the capital. Personnel Today sets out four things that employers will need to know to be ready for the upcoming summer of sport.

1. Olympic volunteers

The Games will be supported by 70,000 volunteers (referred to as “Games Makers”), who will work in a range of generalist and specialist roles. Games Makers commit to devoting three training days and 10 days during the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games, or a minimum of 20 days if they are volunteering for both. Employers need to be prepared for employees requesting time off to volunteer and might consider introducing a specific policy.

2. Watching the Olympics

Although it is unlikely to cause the level of disruption employers face during football World Cups, there are likely to be times during the Olympics when employees are going to want to follow events at work. Employers need to consider their approach to employees following events at work, and review any policies on sporting events, to ensure that employees know what is expected of them, and that any measures are fair to all employees.

3. Travel disruption during the Olympics

London-based employers, and employers in areas outside London that host events, need to be aware of the potential for travel disruption during the Olympics and Paralympics. London-based employees are very likely to face disruptions to their journeys to and from work during the Games, and employers may wish to consider measures that will alleviate their difficulties, such as working from home. The London 2012 website gives the following ominous warning: “transport networks will be incredibly busy”.

4. Requests for holiday during the Olympics

The combination of employees volunteering for the Games, attending events and watching events could result in employers being subject to more holiday requests than they can grant during the Games. Employers need to be prepared to deal with leave requests in a fair and proportionate way, and for problems that could result from refusal of requests.

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