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Tour de France 2014

The Tour de France will run from Saturday 5 July to Sunday 27 July 2014. The Tour de France is made up of 21 stages and covers a total distance of 3,656 kilometres.

Worldwide, the Tour de France is ranked as the single biggest spectator sporting event. In the UK it has traditionally enjoyed a lower profile, but as British riders have performed strongly in recent years and the Tour visits the country again, it is anticipated that this will rise.

There are three stages in England running Saturday 5 July from Leeds to Harrogate, Sunday 6 July from York to Sheffield and Monday 7 July from Cambridge to London.

The main issues which may affect both employee and employers will be around:

  • Road closures 
  • Requests for annual leave
  • Website use during working hours
  • Poor performance

Working together

Overall the adoption of best practice and flexibility from both employers and employees throughout the period is the key to a productive business and an engaged workforce.

Before the start of any major sporting event it would be best to have agreements in place regarding such issues as time off, sickness absence or even watching TV during these events. By working together both employers and employees will understand the needs of each party. But remember a more flexible approach to working hours, annual leave etc may not always be possible as the employer will need to maintain a certain working level.

Road closures - Flexibility

One option that may be agreeable would be to have a more flexible working day, when employees may come in a little later or finish earlier, and then agree when this time can be made up.

Managers may allow staff to swap shifts if possible, any change in hours or flexibility in working hours should be approved before the event.

Annual Leave

The organisation's annual leave policy should give guidance as to how to book time off. However, employers may wish to look at being a little more flexible when allowing employees leave during this period, but remember this will be a temporary arrangement. Employees should remember this may not always be possible to get the leave they have requested, particularly if a significant number of the workforce have also requested the same time off - in these cases employers may need to adopt a 'first come first served' approach. The key is for both parties to try and come to an agreement.

All leave requests should be considered fairly by all employees, and a consistent approach to other major sporting events in granting leave. Remember not everyone like sports.

Social Networking and internet use 

There may be an increase in the use of social networking sites, sports news or the official Tour de France website.

Employers should have a clear policy regarding the use of the internet in the work place; this policy should be cascaded to all employees. If employers are monitoring internet usage the data protection regulations require them to make it clear that it's happening to all employees. Many employers who have an internet use policy will make it clear what is, and is not, acceptable use.