Seize the Moment in 2014

Seize the Moment in 2014

2014 looks set to be an exciting year, particularly with the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Scottish Independence Referendum. Together with changes to Employment Law (a summary of which can be found here), these events could rouse some interesting HR implications for organisations in 2014.

Commonwealth Games 2014

Holiday requests

During the Commonwealth Games (23 July – 3 August 2014), employers may experience unusually high levels of requests for annual leave. Some employees may have been fortunate enough to obtain tickets for the Games, others may simply wish to take time off to watch the Games live on television. It also coincides with a period where many people take their summer holidays. As such, employers should be ready to deal with competing holiday requests.

Employers may wish to consider whether existing annual leave policies provide a workable procedure and timeframe to accommodate any competing holiday requests. Furthermore, organisations without such policies should consider whether now would be a good time to create and implement them. Particularly as the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) apply in the absence of procedures for making holiday requests. Under the WTR, employees are only required to give a period of notice that amounts to twice the number of days they wish to take. For example, for one day’s holiday an employee is only required to give two days’ notice.

In cases where holiday requests have not be granted, some employees may be tempted to take unauthorised absence. Employers should also review their sickness absence policies and remind staff of the procedure for reporting absence and for returning to work.

Social Media

With live streaming of the Commonwealth Games, employers wishing to limit the personal use of computers at work should remind employees of their policies on computer usage. Employers could allow employees to watch the Games on television during breaks, where they are able to facilitate this. However, it is important to avoid disruption by restricting any screenings to staff or meeting rooms.

Scottish Independence Referendum

The Scottish Independence Referendum is set for 18th September 2014 and is likely to invoke some political discussion in the workplace. Intelligent political dialogue can be good for employees and may even increase camaraderie. However, such discussions can quickly escalate into arguments and may lead to formal complaints. Furthermore, nationalistic jokes and teasing could breach an organisation’s diversity or equal opportunities policies. In some cases, such as where an employee has been subjected to unwanted conduct related to nationality, it could constitute harassment. Employers should be alert to such possibilities and be ready to deal with any breaches.

Contact us for more information

Please do contact a member of the team at Gravitate HR on 0131 225 7458 if you would like any further information.