With the kick off fast approaching, employers need to start to put into place policies to avoid confusion during the World Cup Period.
It is a well known fact that sickness rates increase at the time of major sporting events and that there could be some members of staff who use sickness as an excuse to watch the match.
Whilst many nations will be supported in the UK, the main issue for many employers will probably be on England, and in particular their third and maybe crucial game against Slovenia which kicks off at 15:00 UK time on Wednesday 23rd June.
If teams progress, so could the issue and it would be wise for employers to set out expectations to employees to avoid possible disputes.
There are various options, but whatever you choose, the key is to make your policy clear at an early stage so there can be no ambiguity. Some possible alternatives include:
Flexible working – allowing staff to take time off providing cover is in place and the time is made up at some other time.
Taking leave – asking employees to take annual leave if they wish to watch the match/es. If you follow this route you will need to set out rules about who gets the first option – ‘first come first served’ etc. You may also need to remind staff about minimum cover levels and the notice they need to give.
Home working – an option for some, but very difficult to monitor.
Facilities at work – why not consider having or using the facilities at work to make the matches a ‘social’ occasion – giving staff the option to watch or listen to the matches whilst working? A word of warning however that it is probably best to keep such gatherings alcohol free to ensure staff safety and avoid accidents when operating machinery etc.
Internet use – something many employers will forget to think about – with live radio coverage available, you may need to re-state your internet usage policy.
The World Cup is a once every four year occasion and staff cannot be blamed for wanting to experience the excitement. However, as employers you must set clear guidelines as to what is expected and apply them fairly – remember not everyone is a football fan and any policies must be fair to all employees.
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