The UEFA Euro 2016 competition 4 kicks off on Friday 10 June with the Final scheduled for Sunday 10 July 2016 at 8pm (BST). So as football fever grips the nation what can you do to ensure your business continues to operate effectively whilst allowing those who are interested the opportunity to watch the matches?

England’s games in the initial round are scheduled to be played on:-

  • Saturday 11 June @ 20.00 England v Russia (BST)
  • Thursday 16 June @ 14.00 England v Wales (BST)
  • Monday 20 June @ 20.00 Slovakia v England (BST)

UEFA Euro 2016 and Implications for Employers

The key match that will cause problems for employers is likely to be the England v Wales match on Thursday 16 June that kicks of at 2pm.

It goes without saying that the further England progress the higher the interest will be, causing many employers to panic that their employees will be suddenly struck down with a bout of ‘World Cup fever’, taking ‘sickies’ to watch matches or arriving late after a night of celebrating their team has won. Drawing up a policy will be a valuable precaution that will allow also you to demonstrate a consistent and fair approach, should a problem arise.

Flexible Working
Allow employees to leave early on the day of the game and/or start late on the day after the game. The hours lost can be made up at another time either before or after the games, or a combination of the two. If allowing time to be made up afterwards be careful that no one runs up an unrealistic amount of time.

Shift Swaps
Where you operate a shift system, introducing a shift swap scheme enables employees to arrange their shifts around the matches they are interested in, provided appropriate levels of cover can be maintained and subject to the Working Time Regulations.

Holiday Entitlement
If you normally limit holiday entitlement to be taken as full days consider implementing an exemption to the policy for the duration of the competition. For instance, employees could deduct one day from their entitlement and take that in hourly slots. Thus allowing them to finish early on the day of a match or start later the day after a match.

Unpaid Leave
Where employees have used their holiday entitlement you could allow them to take unpaid time off work. As for holiday entitlement you could deduct one days pay and allow them to take that time in hourly slots.

Listen or Watch at Work
Allow your employees to listen to the radio while they work or set up a TV for them to watch in a meeting room.

My Top Tips

Remind your employees that:-

  • you expect them to work as normal unless you have agreed an alternative working arrangement with them.
  • that if time off or holiday requests are refused and they subsequently fail to attend work, this will be treated as unauthorised absence for which they could be disciplined, unless they can demonstrate it was for another reason e.g. sickness.
  • levels of sickness absence will be closely monitored during the World Cup
  • failure to report absence in accordance with your absence reporting procedures is a disciplinary offence that could result in dismissal.
  • turning up to work drunk or so hung over they are incapable of carrying out their duties will be considered a disciplinary offence.
  • listening to radio or watching TV coverage of the games at work is a privilege and abuse will result in its withdrawal.

Other things to consider are:-

  • An increase in short term absences: employees may take time off work to watch matches and report the absence as sickness.
  • Internet misuse: there may be an increase in the use of social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, or websites covering the World Cup.
  • Banter between supporters of different teams: this could lead to harassment claims if the banter gets out of hand.
  • Behaviour outside work: employees may be charged with football hooliganism and alcohol related crimes which could affect the employees ability to do their job and/or damage the employers reputation.

Once you’ve agreed your policy apply the rules consistently for all games, remember you may have employees who support other teams in the competition.

The key to successfully managing employees during the World Cup is to ensure that whatever measures you decide to implement, these are clearly communicated to all staff.

Once your policy is in place you should apply it equally to all key events i.e. Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Wimbledon etc. that could affect your normal working hours. This way, if someone desperately wants a few hours off because they want to watch Andy Murray @ Wimbledon your policy is already written and you can apply the rules consistently.

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The Leave and Time Off folder provides guidance and resources to help you manage those unusual requests for time off work. For instance: time of for dependents, compassionate leave, adverse weather and major sporting events. My Sporting Events Policy suggests alternative ways of working during major sporting events.

UEFA EURO 2016 Implications For Employers

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