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Six months to go - but employers still 'in denial' about the impact the Olympic Games will have on their businesses

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With only six months until the London Olympic Games, research by recruitment consultants, Badenoch & Clark, has found employers remain unprepared for the expected surge in staff leave this summer.

Badenoch & Clark's poll of 1,000 office employees found more than two thirds (70.5%) of employers are yet to draft a leave and absence plan for the Olympics. The number of employers with a policy in place has increased by only a tenth (9.4%) in the last five months - suggesting that a large number of businesses will rush through last minute annual leave measures as the Games approach.

Among the few employers that have formally stated their annual leave procedures for London 2012, nearly a tenth (9.2%) have stated that leave will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis, and a small percentage (4.8%) have advised that employees will be refused annual leave on key Olympic dates. Northern Ireland (92.3%) and Scotland (82.1%) are the furthest behind in their planning according to employees, whereas employers in the East are the most organised, with nearly half (44.8%) of employees fully briefed on London 2012 absence plans. The host city London continues to lag behind, with almost two thirds (62.3%) of employers yet to communicate holiday action plans.

According to research conducted by Badenoch & Clark in July last year, the uncertainty over taking annual leave during the Games has led to one in six (15.7%) admitting that they would consider taking a 'sickie' to watch London 2012 - leaving organisations seriously under resourced during the Olympics.

Nicola Linkleter, MD at Badenoch & Clark, said: "As the six month countdown to 'the greatest show on Earth' begins, a majority of employers are still in denial about the impact it will have on their businesses. Given the immense interest the London Olympic Games will create among workers, this is poor planning that could lead to employee discontent, confusion and threadbare cover.

"With Transport for London anticipating difficulties in getting people to work, employers need firm annual leave policies and contingency plans for possible staff shortfalls. As the countdown begins it is important to communicate these policies sooner rather than later."