With all the gorgeous weather we’ve been having, the start of the World Cup 2018 seems to have crept up on us (or is that just me?). The World Cup takes place in Russia between Thursday 14th June and Sunday 15th July. Football match times in the UK will vary between 11am and 8pm.
The World Cup is a big sporting event for many employees who may want to follow their favourite football team (sadly this does not include Scotland this time). Some employees may be lucky enough to have tickets to enjoy the tournament, while many will simply want to watch the matches and stay updated on the results.
Before the start of any major sporting event such as the World Cup employers should consider having agreements or policies in place regarding issues such as taking time off, sickness absence or even watching the matches during working hours.
Whether or not employers currently have flexible working practices, it may be something to consider during the period of the World Cup, even if only a short-term measure.
Perhaps an employer could consider a more flexible working day, meaning employees may come in a little later or finish earlier, and then agree when this time can be made up.
Allowing employees to listen to the radio or watch the TV may be another possible option, although it is important that this is not abused.
Employers should apply a fair and consistent approach with all employees when allowing additional benefits during the World Cup.
As with any period of leave, employees who wish to take time off work around the time of the World Cup should book annual leave in the normal way, as set out in their organisation’s policy. However, employers may wish to look at being a little more flexible when allowing employees leave during this period but remember this will be a temporary arrangement.
Employees should remember it may not be possible to get the leave they have requested, particularly if a significant number of staff have requested the same time off – in these cases employers may need to adopt a ‘first come first served’ approach. The key is for both parties to try and come to an agreement.
Some employees may want to travel to Russia to watch the matches live, however, they should remember not to book flights until leave has been agreed. Employees should also be aware that they may experience travel delays when they are back in the UK so should return in plenty of time so their work doesn’t suffer.
All leave requests should be considered fairly by all employers, and a consistent approach to other major sporting events in granting leave. Remember not everyone likes football!
Organisations’ sickness policies will still apply during this time, and these policies should be operated fairly and consistently for all staff.
Advice from Acas is that levels of attendance should be monitored during this period in accordance with the attendance policy, any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence could result in formal proceedings. This could include the monitoring of high levels of sickness, late attendance or lower levels of performance at work due to post-match celebrations.
In a world where everything is online, there may be an increase in staff using social networking sites, sports news websites or official sporting events pages on the internet during the World Cup.
Employers may wish to remind staff of any policies regarding the use of social networking and websites during working hours. The policies should be clear on what is and isn’t acceptable web use.
While it may be customary for some people to pop to the pub to watch the match, employees should be mindful of the fact that coming to work under the influence of alcohol or being caught drinking during working hours could result in disciplinary procedures.
By following these tips, the World Cup participation (off the pitch) can go ahead without any red cards! If you feel like you require further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our employment team here.