Summer season is fast approaching and the sporting calendar is still at full pace with Wimbledon just around the corner.  Whenever there is a popular sporting event on, the Euros, World Cup, Olympics etc. I often get calls from employers asking what to do about showing the events or staff who take sick leave around this time (either to watch the event or recover!).

Try to encourage staff to take leave if they are that keen on watching the event and I know people who do take the two Wimbledon weeks off.  Many employees will not want to use their valuable holiday time on watching sport on TV and so may try and take the days as sick leave.  I would advise employers who have particular concerns about such absences to send out a clear communication in the build up to any event to all employees.  This should be accompanied by a copy of the sickness absence policy and confirm that all staff are expected in unless there is a genuine case of sickness and that any absence over this period will be reviewed closely.  If you have any evidence to suggest the employee was not in fact sick (social media is a terrible alibi!) then you may consider disciplinary action.

The most positive way to deal with this, if your business can afford the time and space, is to stream the sporting event.  Perhaps use this as a time to network and invite clients and suppliers to enjoy it with you.  Not only could it add value to the service you are providing but it can boost morale, reduce sick days, bad feeling and increase loyalty.  There are almost always some staff that do not care about such events and are happy to work and provide a skeleton staff for the afternoon.  They could be rewarded by having a late start every day the following week or getting to finish early on a Friday for instance.  

Almost all cases can be turned around and viewed positively, it's just about perspective.