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Employers - Avoid an Own Goal During FIFA World Cup 2014


The 2014 FIFA World Cup started today and will run until 13 July. Whilst this will no doubt excite football fans others will be less excited, including many Employers, not least due to the difficulties it could cause them.

First the good news for UK Employers

This World Cup is being played in Brazil so none of the matches are being broadcast until at least 5pm BST and so many employees will be able to make it home in plenty of time to see the tail end of the first half and all of the second half of these early kick-off matches.

Now the not so good news for UK Employers

With many Employers running a 24 hour operation, the evening kick off times won't make any difference and so staff could still phone in sick, or worse simply not turn up in order to watch matches  and this could have serious implications for Employers.

To help Employers better understand the risks and equip them with tools to better manage the situation and create a positive outcome for both employer and employee, we've outlined below the keys points Employers should consider.

Potential Issues Employers Might Face

  • Unauthorised absence;
  • Staff being drunk / under the influence of alcohol at work;
  • Inappropriate conduct by employees - discrimination, racism, bullying or harassment;
  • Increases in holiday requests from both football and non-football fans alike.

Ways Employers Could Avoid Issues

1.  Ensure You Have Clear Policies in place including:

    • Sickness & Absence Policy
    • Code of Conduct
    • Discipline & Grievance Policy
    • Bullying & Harassment Policy
    • Drugs & Alcohol Policy
    • Equality & Diversity Policy

2.  Manage absenteeism in advance.  

    • Make it clear to employees that absences without authorisation will not be paid and may lead to action under the Disciplinary Policy.
    • Utilise Return to Work Interviews to identify and address fake sickness absence or absent resulting from post-match hangovers

3.  Reconsider Your Holiday Arrangements

    • Relax caps on the number of employees that are allowed to be on holiday at one time
    • Where staff have indicated they want to see certain matches, encourage them to take the time off as annual leave.
    • Remember non football fans may make holidays requests during the same period and so you will need to ensure you treat all holidy requests fairly and equally.  Granting a holiday request by a male employee but refusing a holiday request from a female employee could trigger a claim of sex discrimination!

4.  Some Other Things to Consider

    • Screening matches in a meeting room or communal area.
    • Relaxing your Internet Policy and allow employees to stream matches on their PCs.
    • You will need to ensure you have the appropriate licenses in place which allow screening or streaming of live TV within the workplace.

Events like this can create legal pitfalls for Employers, especially those who don't have up to date HR policies in place.  If you would like a free assessment or specific advice on this or any other employment related matter Contact Us today on 0800 612 4772 or alternatively request a Free Quote Now.

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