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Employers told to get set for Olympics

Wednesday 27 July 2011

With a year to go until the Olympics Acas has issued guidance to employers on getting the best from their staff and avoiding absence during the Games.

The employment relations service says employers should start talking to employees early to manage expectations and minimise the impact on productivity. Acas are also advising workers lucky enough to have tickets for London 2012 to get out of the blocks quickly with their holiday request.

Acas encourages employers to be:

  • Flexible, where you can, for example, by altering start and finish times and allowing longer lunch breaks so that staff can watch events during the working day
  • Clear about what you expect from your employees in relation to attendance and performance
  • Communicative - start talking early on about managing leave and working hours
  • Honest about how you will manage changes to working practices and where this isn't possible explain the reasons for this
  • Fair about the way you respond to requests for time off.

Managed correctly, the Olympics has the potential to provide a boost to employees at a time when the continuing economic climate threatens morale.

Acas Chief Executive John Taylor said:

"Big sporting occasions can present a number of dilemmas for firms who might be worried about the impact of less productive employees or the after effects of lively celebrations.

"Employers need to start planning now to avoid problems later on, check policies and procedures and remind staff how these work in practice.

"If you've been lucky enough to get tickets for the Olympics you certainly don't want to miss out because you failed to book the time off work".

The guidance is just part of the work Acas are doing to help ensure the Games run smoothly. This includes:

  • Signing an agreement with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the TUC to ensure workers' grievances during the Olympics are fast tracked through our system, minimising disruption to the Games. It will cover all LOCOG's workforce on site during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the 70,000 volunteers that LOCOG is recruiting throughout 2011
  • Being part of the deal struck between Network Rail and the Rail Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) which means strikes can't be called while Acas is working to settle a dispute
  • Convening talks across the transport sector making sure they're prepared for potential issues
  • Advising small businesses who expect to take on extra staff for London 2012.

Acas guidance on everything from flexible working to holidays, time off and managing attendance can be found at www.acas.org.uk/olympics.

Notes for editors

  1. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members
  2. If you would like to speak to an Acas expert on the impact of the Olympics in the workplace please contact the press office.

For media enquiries only, call Matt Barker, Media and PR Manager on 020 7210 3924 or Lou Owen, Media and Marketing Officer on 020 7210 3920.