Games Makers - implications for employers

Added On: 11th August 2011

Games Makers - implications for employers

Being a volunteer at the Games is being described as a once in a lifetime opportunity but what will that mean for employers?

  • Are you obliged to give them time off?

  • Do you have to pay staff while they are volunteering?

People who are accepted as volunteers will be required to attend three separate training days prior to the Games - at the moment the timing of these is unknown. Those who have volunteered to help at the Olympics are required to help for a minimum of 10 days, and those who volunteer to help at both the Olympics and Paralympics are required to help for a minimum of 20 days. So, dependant on working patterns, when the training days and volunteering 'shifts' fall this could mean a requirement for 13 days leave, or if volunteering for both events, that potentially rises to 23 days.

Employees who are accepted as volunteers have no automatic right to take time off for selection events, training sessions or the actual Olympics themselves. You need to decide whether employees will be required to take the time as annual leave, or whether you are going to allow any additional leave - paid or unpaid. In deciding this you need to take care if any additional leave is allowed, because it might set a precedent that would make it be difficult for the company to justify refusing additional leave for any other important events in the future. Consistency is essential.

The whole leave situation is complicated by the fact that the Olympics take place during the school summer holidays, which is always a busy time for employees taking annual leave. You need to plan for how you will deal with a possible increase in requests from employees to take leave at this busy holiday time, and you must communicate your policy clearly to employees - preferably well in advance.