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Impact of Summer Sport

Summer sports

The impact of summer sport is on you and your clients

With thanks to Croner-I Taxwise-protect with an introduction from our director Howard Gross. We hope the following will be helpful to you and your clients.

On 14 June 2024, the UEFA Euro 2024 competition kicks off a month of football. It will make an impact, in one way or another. Other than it went wrong for England last Friday. Scotland are in the tournament too. Some of your firm’s team will be supporting other nations. SPA wishes them and the team you support every success. And that’s not it. There are various other sporting events such as the Athletics, Olympics, Wimbledon, Ascot, Cricket, and lots more. Teams and individuals from throughout the UK will compete at some point or another over the coming summer months, all of which have the potential to entertain, and distract, employees. This might have an effect on workplaces throughout the UK including yours and those of your clients. What should you do?

When it comes to holiday requests, you and your client need to balance the needs of the business against the wishes of employees. You can refuse holiday requests and decide when leave can or cannot be taken. This doesn’t change just because there is a major sporting event going on. However, care will be needed to ensure that decisions on holidays are made fairly and without bias towards nationality.

A flat refusal is unlikely to be received well, and it’s important to remember the wellbeing aspects of taking annual leave that are particularly relevant during summer. Acting in a way that is fair and reasonable will therefore be essential to avoid issues.

Some employees might want to watch or listen to events during the working day. You and your client will need to manage this carefully. If allowing it, it shouldn’t just be limited to the home nations as that would be unfair and potentially discriminatory.

The decision for who does get to watch should also be made fairly. It may be possible to show events during work and allow staff to time their breaks around certain events, or allow them to adjust their start / finish times around events they want to watch, so that they are in a position to work as soon as it is finished. Whatever decision is made, you or your client should ensure they have the proper license in place to have a television or radio on in the workplace.

During major sporting events, unexpected absences can occur. It’s advisable to inform staff that attendance levels will be monitored throughout the summer and especially when a big event happens, to deter those thinking of pulling a ‘sickie’. Employees should be aware that any unauthorised absences will be classed as a form of misconduct, resulting in disciplinary procedures if this occurs.

On a final note, the government has decided that in England and Wales, should either Scotland or England get through to the semi-finals, premises already licensed until 11pm for the sale of alcohol for consumption on site can remain open for an extra two hours on those nights either team are playing. Note, this doesn’t apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Closing later could create issues with staffing. Asking staff to work it is best, but if that does not yield enough cover, it may be necessary to rely on an applicable contractual clause. However, it must be reasonable to do so.

It could also have a knock-on effect for opening the next day, as employees must have 11 hours daily rest under the working time regulation, meaning an employee working until 1am wouldn’t be able to start work until 12pm. Our best wishes to the sportsmen and women that represent us this summer. We hope they all become superstars and bring home a trophy and lots of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Finally, it’s important not to forget to embrace the fun at work. Having a dedicated fun day with prizes or even assigning different sports or countries to each team/department and letting them decorate their area appropriately could be a good way to keep morale high in the workplace.

 Kind regards,

Howard

PS. There is a UK General Election on Thursday July 4th. You and some of your team may become involved directly or indirectly. It is a year of Elections with the US Presidential Election in November and a few others.

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