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Issue:- 02/03 June 2010

FPB talks about the World Cup

WITH the World Cup just over a week away, the Forum of Private Business is advising its members to plan ahead for the likelihood that some employees will take more of an interest in their team’s fortunes than their duties and want to watch games during work hours.

This year's tournament in South Africa has made life somewhat easier for some employers operating ‘nine to five’, Monday to Friday hours because kick-off times for England’s group matches are at weekends or in the evening during the week.

However, international football championships and other big sporting events often lead to staff being more distracted than normal and a raft of requests to view matches live.

The Forum’s advice includes the following tips:-

Do nothing... If employees choose to be absent on that day without taking a holiday they leave themselves open to some form of disciplinary warning for unauthorised absence.

Screen the matches at work... An employer could install a television or projector screen at work so that employees can watch the game and use the occasion as a team-building event – then no one will have to take days off. Alternatively, they can listen to it on the radio. However, you should be aware with either of these options that the correct TV licence or licence from the Performing Rights Society will be required.

Allow flexible working... Another option is to let employees leave early to watch the game, but require them to make up the lost working hours during the week.

Use annual leave... A simple solution is to invite staff to book annual leave if they wish to watch a match.

Make watching the games a perk... The two hours off work that the match will typically take to watch can be used as an incentive based upon individual or group performance.

Avoid discriminating... Employers should be aware that, to avoid discriminating against staff members who are not supporting England, or uninterested in football, employers should offer the same concessions to all employees.

“Sporting events like the World Cup can present major headaches for small firms whose employees are understandably excited and want to watch games during work hours. Work is work and it is important to know when to draw the line on issues such as unauthorised absenteeism and declining productivity, but the sensible approach for both employers and their staff is to be flexible. Watching games together in work can help tem members to bond, as long as the lost hours are made up later, and firms could consider granting staff time off if cover is available.“
said the Forum’s Head of Policy Matt Goodman.

To help its members with their HR issues, the Forum provides a 24 hour legal helpline, legal expenses insurance and comprehensive business insurance packages. In addition, small businesses can benefit from the Forum’s annually-updated employment guide containing practical step-by-step guidance and templates covering every area of employment.

Employers should visit:- or call:- 0845 612 6266 for more information.

Vitalise Sandpipers in Southport recognises outstanding contribution of volunteers

NATIONAL disability charity Vitalise’s Sandpipers Centre in Southport is celebrating the achievements of its volunteers during National Volunteers Week.

Outstanding volunteers from the past year at the centre will receive certificates of recognition from grateful staff as part of the annual Vitalise Volunteer Awards this week. Sandpipers is one of Vitalise’s five UK centres to celebrate its volunteers during National Volunteers Week.

Among the 25 volunteers currently donating their time and enthusiasm at Sandpipers this week are husband and wife team Kath and Alf Bamping of Bolton, who have been volunteering together at Sandpipers for the past six years. Both are set to receive certificates of recognition. Kath, 53, explained:- “The atmosphere is infectious. It’s a chance to try new and exciting things and meet new people from all over the world. But the icing on the cake is in giving my time for such a great cause and helping others to achieve all the goals. You give, but you get so much back in return. You come away feeling tired, saddened at parting company, but already planning when you can come again.”

Among the other volunteers currently at Sandpipers is veteran Brenda Dugdale, of Chester, who is still actively volunteering at the age of 84.

Vitalise makes over 5,500 volunteer placements each year. The majority of volunteers spend a week at one of Vitalise’s residential Centres around the UK, where they provide companionship and support to the disabled guests and carers. Others accompany visually impaired people on city breaks and activity holidays in the UK and abroad, or help in Vitalise Day Centres, offices and shops.

Vitalise Sandpipers Centre Manager Darren Holloran said:- “Volunteers are the lifeblood of Vitalise. It’s safe to say that without them we simply wouldn’t be able to provide such a stimulating experience for our guests. That’s why we want to recognise our volunteers’ commitment here at Sandpipers during National Volunteers Week. We want them to know just how much we value their incredible contribution. Vitalise runs one of the largest and most diverse volunteer programmes in the UK. Our volunteers are of all ages and from all walks of life, from retired people looking to make good use of their free time, to young people looking to gain valuable skills and experience. We regularly welcome long-term overseas volunteers from the four corners of the world.”

Vitalise is a national charity providing essential services for disabled people, visually impaired people, and carers. As well as Sandpipers, the charity runs four other accessible Centres in the UK, offering short breaks for disabled people and carers, with a programme of activities and excursions throughout the year. Vitalise also runs day services and organises holidays for visually impaired people.

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