The potential mid-summer madness for employers: How to avoid it and enjoy it!
23 May 2012
The arrival of the Olympic flame in England this week and confirmation of the Euro 2012 squad marks the beginning of a summer of sport and celebration which many employees will be keen to engage in. Euro 2012 kicks off on 8 June and the London 2012 Olympics open on 27 July. This is aside from annual fixtures including the popular Wimbledon tennis championships starting for two weeks on 25 June. And if that was not enough to keep the nation entertained, at the beginning of June, sport lovers and non-sport lovers alike will be able to enjoy a four day celebration in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Please find attached here our essential fixture guide.
We set out below key points for employers to consider this summer if they are to minimise business disruption and legal risks.
Ensure employees focus and give proper consideration to leave they might wish to take. Whilst some employees will be organised, others will be less so. As events start to kick off, encourage as many leave requests as possible now to get a true picture of any potential impact on your business. Have a clear and fair strategy as to how requests will be dealt with. If you decide to engage temporary workers to cover absent staff bear in mind your obligations under the Agency Worker Regulations 2010.
Think flexibly. Will employees be able to travel efficiently to and from their place of work? Should employees be offered the opportunity to work from a different location, including their home or perhaps work different hours? If so, will your IT systems be able to cope? Where an employee requests to work flexibly ensure you give it careful consideration to minimise the risk of discrimination claims. Remember that statutory requirements for requesting flexible working may well kick in.
Be consistent. Where your business operates from a number of different locations, minimise the risk for potential employee relations fall out where workplaces adopt differing approaches to enjoying the events. Where business need dictates different approaches in different locations, make sure this is made clear to employees.
Be international and inclusive. Diverse workforces require a consistency of approach and fair treatment. Overseas nationals within the workplace may want to watch their team just as much as home nationals. Make sure that precedence is not given to “home” games and events.
Have clear rules for demonstrating national pride. Excessive national paraphernalia may not only be an unwelcome distraction but also create an intimidating work environment for employees of other nationalities. There is a careful balance in not being the party pooper but ensuring the party does not get out of hand.
Review your policies. Review policies (including internet use, sickness absence, flexible working, home working, harassment and disciplinary procedures) to ensure they are up to date and ready to deal with any potential issues that may arise.
Ensure clear communication. Communicate now the standards and behaviours expected of employees over the coming months, particularly with regard to attendance and use of the internet during working hours. Remind employees that unless agreed otherwise, they are expected to be in and ready for work as usual.
Make the experience positive for everyone. The feel good factor this summer’s events will bring should be maximised in the workplace. In particular, consider screening key events in the workplace so that staff can engage and watch together whilst minimising business disruption.
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