As World Cup fever grips the nation, employers could be left with something of a headache when staff who are rostered in to work want to watch the games.
Will they record the match using the multitude of technology and catch-up services we have these days? Or will they call in sick?
If managers have an open mind to time off and allowing staff to get into the spirit of the World Cup, there shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Playing big games on TVs in your offices, factory or canteen may help keep staff in work and less inclined to stay at home.
Also, being more flexible than normal with the use of annual leave, where business is not affected, will reduce the chances of post-World Cup disciplinary action.
Thankfully most of England’s group games are outside of the 9-5 hours, but some staff, who work nights and weekends or who follow one of the other 31 competing countries, might be tempted to skip work to watch their teams.
Managers should be alert to ‘sickies’ after big games, which are really hangovers, or even be aware some staff may try to attend work when not actually fit due to alcohol consumed watching the game the night before.
It may seem silly to think staff would risk their employment for a sporting event but we are a proud sporting nation. I recall in the London Olympics in 2012 an employee who was refused time off was later seen by management on TV taking part in the opening ceremony when they were supposedly ‘ill’.
If employers and staff work together, the World Cup should be enjoyable for all (whether England win or not). However, policies will need to be followed where staff blatantly take unauthorised leave, as this is something that can lead to dismissal.
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