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Food manufacturers preparing for 'Olympic sickies'

By Dan Colombini , 16-Apr-2012

Food manufacturers are making plans to avoid being hit by staff shortages caused by “Olympic sickies” and a surge in holiday requests when the games begin this summer.

Firms are expected to face an influx of requests for leave when the games begin in July

Firms are expected to face an influx of requests for leave when the games begin in July

Many firms across the UK are expected to face a deluge of holiday requests for leave during July. Also there is potential for an increase in sick days from people who failed to get Olympics tickets, but now wish to watch the games at home, according to law firm Rollits.

But the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has claimed that food firms would be well prepared when Olympic fever hits London.

A spokeswoman for the FDF told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Food and drink manufacturers, like most forward thinking businesses, will be working on contingency plans to ensure that they have sufficient staffing during the Olympic period as there are likely to be people taking leave.”

Disruption

She also said that food firms were unlikely to suffer from disruption caused by a flood of Olympic fans hitting the UK. Many businesses were based out of the main areas where the event will take place, she said.

Rollits warned UK businesses to prepare for the potential staffing problem caused by the games, which is expected to attract high levels of interest from workers.

The firm stressed the need for businesses to have a well-organised holiday request procedure in place to deal with the likely upsurge in demand.

It also warned them to remind employees of the correct sickness procedures and to make clear that disciplinary action may arise if these are not followed.

It would be advisable for employers to consider implementing a policy stating how absences will be dealt with for both volunteers and non-volunteers and reserving the right to refuse such requests,” a Rollits statement revealed.

It would also be advisable for such policy to refer to requests from employees to leave early to watch the games and how these will be dealt with”.

Strike a balance

Rollits also advised firms to strike a balance between keeping Olympics fans happy, while not upsetting staff that have no interest in the games.

In order to try to minimise these issues, employers may wish to consider having a communal radio or television for specific events,” the firm said.

But it also suggested workers who take advantage of this option should be expected to make up the time elsewhere.

Implementing such a policy will ensure that there is continuity in treatment of all employees and will hopefully make the employer’s position clear to all.”

The Olympic and Paralympic Games begins in London on July 26 and will last for six weeks.