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Bosses Brace Themselves For Holiday Headaches

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

British bosses are bracing themselves for a holiday headache as the 70,000 people who have volunteered to help stage the Olympics are given their final shift rotas.

Most people who have been accepted as volunteers will already have asked their employers for time off during the Games, but will only be able to book specific days off work when their shifts are confirmed over the next three weeks, between April 30 and May 16..

The result is a sudden rush of applications for holiday at a time when many of their colleagues will have already booked time off to attend events as spectators.

Peter Mooney, head of employment law at business support specialist, ELAS, said: "Most employers run a straightforward first come, first served policy for holiday requests, especially during busy periods like summer holidays or during big events.

"But that is complicated when people don't know the exact dates and times they'll need.

"For any bosses trying to manage staffing during the games, it is important to ensure they have enough people at work to operate normally at any one time, and to be fair when deciding who to grant leave to and who not.

"If that means using some discretion to prioritise those who want time off to volunteer, then that is ok - providing they explain that clearly to any staff whose requests are being rejected, and that they apply the same reasoning across the board.

"As soon as managers are inconsistent about whose requests they grant and whose they reject, they leave themselves open to claims of discrimination.

Finally, once those holiday requests have been settled, Mr Mooney said that employers must also be prepared to take a tough stance on those ringing in sick during the Games.

He said: "Bosses need to make clear that they will discipline anybody they suspect of phoning in sick to go to events, then stick to their guns as and when that happens.

"Again, failure to apply this fairly could leave employers open to claims of discrimination, which can lead to costly tribunals and, if proven, unlimited fines."




To arrange an interview with Peter Mooney, head of employment law at ELAS or for any further information, contact: ELAS@onlybeattie.com