Countdown Begins For Olympic 'Disruption Day'

Businesses Have 100 Days Left To Plan


Irwin Mitchell has warned businesses that they have just over 100 days left to prepare for 7th August - the day it predicts will see most workplace disruption caused by the Olympics.

With the major sporting event fast-approaching, the firm is encouraging employers to turn their attention to how they will organise their workforce, cope with holiday requests and deal with suspicious sickness absences.

The firm has highlighted Tuesday 7th August as the day when most disruption is likely as it coincides with the highest concentration of popular events for which the British team is expected to win medals in the Olympics. In addition to these high profile athletics and track cycling events, both of the men’s football semi-finals are also scheduled on the same day.

Glenn Hayes, a Leeds-based employment Partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Now is the time for firms to check and consider their policies in order to ensure that both those who are keen to cheer on athletes and others not interested in the Olympics do not face unfair treatment.

“There are clear benefits to addressing these problems now, as a failure to consider the needs of employees and the number of people likely to want holiday could lead many workers to consider unpaid leave or even sickness absence – with the latter leading to the problem of reasonably determining whether the illness is genuine.”

Discussing specific options for firms, Glenn said: “Flexible working is a particularly positive way forward, as is the ability for employees to swap shifts with colleagues so that they can catch that all-important race or event.

“Firms should also consider the Working Time Regulations when deciding who should get time off when many people are seeking holiday on certain dates. The best way forward could be to give permission to those who have given the longest notice.”

Glenn added that introducing screens in communal areas at work can be effective, but warned that their use needs to be carefully considered.

“Whilst a great idea, firms would need to ensure the use of TVs does not impact on the health and safety of members of staff, as well as whether they prove to be a distraction from the tasks at hand,” he concluded.

“Ultimately, the Olympics are a time when people can come together to enjoy sport. By thinking about its impact now, employers can ensure everyone gets the chance to join the celebrations.”