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Businesses warned to ‘get in shape’ ahead of summer of sport

Ahead of a busy summer of sport an expert is warning employers to plan ahead to avoid disruption in the workplace.

The World Cup, Tour de France, Wimbledon and the Commonwealth Games are among the high profile events taking place over coming months.

Stacey Carter, solicitor in the Employment team at Napthens, warns that employers are likely to face an increase in requests for time off, flexible working and potentially unauthorised absences and friction in the workplace.

She gave her top tips for businesses to plan ahead and manage the potential disruption.

Stacey said: “From the outset, be clear about company policies on issues including sick leave, unauthorised absence, the internet, email use and bullying and harassment. Managers should be clear on the company’s approach.

“Businesses should look at being flexible where they can: for instance, offering flexible working on a temporary basis or relaxing the usual rules on holidays to accommodate more requests than usual on certain days.

“They could look at allowing an early or late start where there is an event during the day, and even set up a games room where employees can watch events in their breaks.

“Employees must understand that these options are temporary, and even then should not be abused. Managers must make it clear there will be consequences for staff not keeping to the rules or engaging in bullying or harassment related to the sporting events.

“It’s important to remember that these events are international competitions and business must take care not to discriminate on the grounds of race or nationality. If England supporters are allowed special privileges, other nationalities must be too.

“Finally, do not jump to conclusions over sickness or unplanned absences. Use return to work interviews and make sure to follow a fair procedure if disciplinary action is required.”