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Managing staff who are volunteering at the Olympics

Volunteering can help develop employees' skills, but as an employer you need to protect the interests of your business too. Striking the right balance on volunteering can help you and your staff get the most out of the 2012 Olympics.

The London 2012 Games have attracted over 240,000 applications for 70,000 volunteer 'games makers', and the selection and training process for these has already begun. Selected volunteers will be agreeing to a minimum of ten days work, with three additional days of training prior to the Games. Should any of your staff be chosen as 'games makers', you'll need to understand the legal rights of volunteers and your responsibilities as their employer.

Recent surveys have shown that many employers are still unsure about their obligations to staff who are volunteering at Olympic events. It's worth remembering that legally, employees have no right to take time off for volunteering, nor are they entitled to payment for volunteering. However, as an employer, you can decide to give your staff unpaid time off to volunteer, or alternatively you can offer to match an employee's own leave with special leave.  Many organisations already give their staff a yearly quota of 'volunteering days', which is typically 2 days a year.

Acas is helping employers to manage staff expectations and minimise any adverse impact of the Games on their business. Acas offers training on managing through the Olympics, in addition to courses on absence management, flexible working and performance management. Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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