Issue date
04 Aug 2017

4 August 2017

With the World Athletic Championships starting in London today (Friday), the TUC is calling on bosses to be sympathetic to staff wanting to watch Team GB in action.

The TUC suggests that bosses should:

  • Talk to their employees in advance about arrangements for events they want to see
  • Arrange for their staff to watch the key events from the Championships somewhere on the company’s premises, if appropriate
  • Allow staff to work from home on days when key events are happening
  • Allow staff to work flexibly and to come in early or later to finish their shifts
  • Be as flexible as possible with annual leave requests

Although there is just one session during that clashes with standard weekday working hours, more than one in five UK employees (5.8 million people) work evenings and weekends, when most sessions and the finals for events will be. And many of them will want to watch their sporting heroes in action.

The TUC has published advice for workers who want to ask their boss for flexibility to watch major sporting events (see notes).

The TUC believes that flexible working has real benefits for businesses and their workforces. Many bosses already recognise these benefits by operating flexitime, letting staff come in and go home early, or arrive later and leave later.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Millions of workers around the UK will want to see Team GB in action at the World Championships.

“It’s sensible for bosses to talk to their staff about ideas for allowing them to watch important events. There are simple ways of making it possible like flexibility for break times, or making up the hours by working earlier or later than usual.

“Flexibility is a win-win for workers and bosses. It cuts absenteeism, and it raises productivity by keeping staff happy and motivated. Let’s hope there’s lots of wins for Team GB too!”


Notes to Editors:
- The TUC guidance for employees is available at

- Event times: the Championship has both daytime and evening sessions. Some daytime sessions are during working days. Event finals are generally in the weekend or evening sessions. The BBC has an event schedule here:

- Flexible working: Common types of flexible working include:

  • Part-time working
  • Homeworking
  • Flexitime – choosing when to work (with a core period during when you have to work)
  • Annualised hours –  when your hours are worked out over a year
  • Compressed hours – working your agreed hours over fewer days
  • Staggered hours –  different starting, break and finishing times for employees in the same workplace
  • Job sharing – sharing a job designed for one person with someone else

- The right to request flexible working: Anyone can ask their employer for flexible working patterns and many employers consider such requests sympathetically. Legally, the right to request flexible working is available to employees who have 26 weeks’ continuous service with an employer at the date that the application is made, and have not made a previous application under the new rights during the previous 12 months. Only employees qualify – not agency workers, and not those in the armed forces. Since 30 June 2014, you no longer need to have caring responsibilities in order to make your request to work flexibly.

- All TUC press releases can be found at

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews