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Be Prepared for World Cup Staff Absences

by bathamm / June 11, 2014

Football - International Friendly 2014, Ecuador v England, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, United States - 04 Jun 2014With the start of the world’s biggest football tournamentjust around the corner and the country set to be gripped by football mania, employers need to keep an eye out for World Cup staff absences caused by the desire to watch the beautiful game, and possible over-indulgences while they do, warns national business support organisation, the Forum of Private Business (FPB).

England’s Group D fixtures for the most part will be taking place well after office hours, but it may be useful for employers to make a note of the following dates to help you plan in advance and to look out for an increase in absences:

14 June 2014

England v Italy, Arena Amazonia, Manaus, 23:00 (BBC)

19 June 2014

Uruguay v England, Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 20:00 (ITV)

24 June 2014

Costa Rica v England, Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, 17:00 (ITV)

Jo Eccles, business adviser at the FPB, says: “Sporting events such as the World Cup can bring a real feel good factor and many people will want to watch and get behind England. While the majority of matches may be in the evening out of office hours for most of us, the final fixture will be towards the end of the working day and employers may want to arrange plans to allow staff to be able to watch what could be the big decider for the team.”

The possible options for employers to tackle the problems include:

Doing nothing

At the end of the day if staff choose to be absent on that day without taking a holiday, then they leave themselves open to some form of disciplinary warning, particularly if they just so happen to coincide with the day or the day after the England fixtures!

Screening the matches at work

Another idea is to install a TV screen or projector screen so that employees can watch the game and use the occasion as a team-building event, and no one will have to take days off. Or, if you don’t have a TV, let them listen to it on the radio. However, you should be aware with either of these options that you will need either a TV licence or a licence from the Performing Rights Society for radio use.

Allow flexible working

Let employees leave early to watch the game, but ask them to either start earlier, finish later or a combination of both on the same or another day during that week to make up the missing time.

Use annual leave

Invite staff to book annual leave if they wish to take a day or half day off to get to the pub in good time to watch a match.

Use it as a perk

You could give employees one or two hours’ time off ahead of the 5pm kick off and use the hours as an incentive, perhaps based upon individual or group performance.

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