We all love the Olympics, Don’t We?

The 27th July 2012 will see the dawn of one of the proudest days in our country’s history with the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic games. Between 27th July and 9th September (Inclusive of the Paralympics) there will an outpouring of sheer unbridled national pride as the world tunes into our games. We cannot wait? Or can we?

The possible chaos and upheaval for employers is unlikely to be unrivalled. So it is important that employers need to be considering now the impact the Olympics could have on their business. Considerations should be given to:

Annual Leave Requests

There is likely to be a large increase in requests for holiday to be taken during the games, as employees will have tickets for Olympic events or will wish to attend some of the many cultural events taking place to celebrate the games. Its important employers communicate with staff well in advance making clear how they will deal with leave requests.

The most straightforward approach to granting leave is on a ‘first come first served’ basis; this is transparent and easily manageable. Alternatively employers could consider, like with Olympic tickets distribution, having a ballot system. This is more complicated. Whatever method the company decides upon its important that they do it well in advance and communicate with employees.

Arrangements in the Workplace:


In line with other major sporting and national events employers may consider providing dedicated areas to watch events within the workplace. This could improve workplace morale and engagement as well as reducing annual leave requests and possible absenteeism during the games.

The problem here is the vast range of events occurring at the games and thus ensuring the disruption and cover of work duties during events is given consideration. Consideration may also need to be given to employees supporting nations other than Team GB.


Games Makers


To support the games 70,000 Games makers have been recruited on a voluntary basis to help the running of the events and venues.

Successful Games Maker will be required to attend at least three training sessions during early 2012 and work at least 10 days during the games. This will increase to 20 days for those covering the Paralympics.

ACAS has confirmed that employees do not have a legal entitlement to have this time off. Employers have several options, they could enforce that the individual take the time as part of their annual leave entitlement, take the time as unpaid or could allow them to take additional paid annual leave.

Employers need to be conscious of setting precedents here regarding volunteering as a whole.


Discrimination Concerns


Employers need to wary of discriminating against certain employees, such as only allowing annual leave for those wanting to support Team GB events.

On an employee engagement note employers also need to be mindful of those not interested in sport and there unhappiness should sports enthusiasts being given preferential treatment.

And finally


The key for employers here is about being prepared and addressing these issues well in advance of the games so they can be enjoyable for all without leaving destruction in their path.