The Olympic and Paralympics Games run from 27th July – 9 September 2012. During this period employees who have tickets, those who have volunteered to be 'Games Makers' and employees who just want to book their annual summer holiday could all request time off work. Employees with tickets should be told to follow standard holiday request procedure and there is no guarantee their request will be granted just because they have tickets. If concerned about receiving a number of holiday requests from key staff for the same time, inform employees that during the Olympics holiday requests will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
70,000 people have volunteered to be Olympic Games makers. There is no legal right for volunteers to take time off work or be paid for it. However employers could allow volunteers to take special leave ('one off' leave which can be paid or unpaid), to work extra days to make up the time, to use their annual leave or a combination of all of these. Employers could also ask volunteers to provide evidence of the time off needed.
Confirm that if time off or holiday requests are refused and the employee subsequently fails to attend work on the days requested, this will be treated as unauthorised absence for which they could be disciplined, unless they can demonstrate it was for another reason e.g. sickness.
Employees have no right to watch the Olympics at work, but as a gesture of goodwill employers could screen the opening and closing ceremonies in a staff room or allow employees to take longer or earlier lunch breaks to watch certain events at work (making up the time later). Inform employees that accessing internet coverage of the Olympics will be limited to allocated breaks and excessive use could lead to disciplinary action being taken against them.
Finally given that the Olympics are fast approaching inform employees how their requests for holidays, time off work and to watch the games at work will be dealt with as soon as possible. It is also important to ensure that any requests are dealt with fairly and consistently across the whole workforce.