The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) is advising payroll and HR departments to be aware of the potentially high volume of annual leave requests in the weeks preceding the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

New research from the CIPP has revealed that nearly one in six (14%) workers plan to take time off to attend the Games.

The findings have also revealed that some companies are generous enough to offer flexible working options during the Olympics. 10.3% of workers said that their employer is allowing flexible working to attend the Games; the same number (10.3%) said that their employer is permitting flexible working so that staff can watch the Games on television and 11.5% of employees said their organisation is granting flexible leave to volunteer at the Games.

Furthermore, 13% of employers are allowing workers to catch up on lost hours at the beginning or end of the day or during weekends for attending, watching or volunteering for the Olympics.

For payroll and HR departments, competing requests for taking time off along with staff working irregular hours, could lead to administrative difficulties, therefore contingency plans need to be put in place to deal with this.

Lindsay Melvin, Chief Executive of the CIPP, said: “Attending the Olympics is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people. It is not surprising to discover that so many Brits will be taking time off to watch the Games in their home country. It is also good to hear that employers are showing their support for the Olympics by offering flexible working arrangements so that can staff can attend, watch or volunteer at the Games.

“That being said, it is important that businesses still run smoothly during this time and part of that is ensuring that employee absences are managed appropriately. Payroll and HR departments will have to be more organised than usual and make sure that there are contingency strategies in place in case a number of their staff members are not working their regular hours.”