Are you one of the few not to know that the World Cup starts in Russia on Thursday 14 June? The month-long tournament culminates with the final in Moscow on 15 July. (The same day as the Wimbledon men’s singles final by the way). Expectations that England or Andy Murray will be involved on this day are low. But the football team will play a minimum of three matches, and these take place on:
- Monday 18 June versus Tunisia at 7:00pm
- Sunday 24 June versus Panama at 1:00pm
- Thursday 28 June versus Belgium at 7:00pm
On the face of it these first three England games will not impact on ‘usual’ working hours. Sensible employers should realise though that:
- Employees might support one of the other 31 teams
- Not everyone works a Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm schedule
- It’s worth being aware of the dates of future England matches should the team progress
- It is still worth planning to minimise any possible World Cup related disruption.
We’ve put together some common-sense tips for employers to avoid World Cup headaches.
- World Cup holiday requests.
Employers may find themselves having to deal with several competing requests for annual leave. If employers can’t accommodate everyone, they need to ensure they deal with all requests fairly and manage employees’ expectations as to whether staff will get the time off.
- Make sure employees know what is expected of them.
To avoid issues such as misconduct and possible harassment, employers must make sure that employees are aware of the rules in advance of the tournament. A sporting events policy, or a memo circulated to staff, could cover annual leave requests, internet use, absence monitoring and a range of other points, to ensure that all employees know what special measures are in place.
- Deter employees from calling in sick when they are not ill.
what if a business cannot accommodate requests for annual leave, or allow employees to follow matches at work? They might be worried that employees will call in sick rather than miss an important match. Employers could consider measures to monitor absence to deter employees from calling in sick unless they are genuinely ill.
- Avoid problems caused by excessive internet use.
If a large proportion of employees stream a match to their desktops, there could be an effect on the employer’s IT network, as well as on general productivity levels. Employers should remind staff of any policy about internet use, whether or not they decide to relax this in relation to the football (or tennis) and should keep an eye out for excessive use.
- Beware of the risk of discrimination.
Some employees will have no interest at all in the World Cup. Not everyone who does will be supporting England. Employers need to make sure that no other groups are disadvantaged by their policies during the tournament. For example, in the way they handle requests for time off or flexible working to watch matches. Employers also need to take steps to prevent behaviour that could amount to harassment.
- Should England progress, consider allowing employees to follow matches during working hours.
The World Cup presents employers with an opportunity to increase staff engagement. Recognising that allowing staff to follow matches during working hours will be very important to some employees and should introduce some flexibility to allow this, where possible. For example, employers could choose to screen key matches in the workplace.
We have a large data bank of policies available or can write them bespoke with you for your business.
If you are concerned or unsure that your policies in relation to some of these points are insufficient then feel free to contact us or call 0845 463 9 365.