The World Cup is upon us and brings with it the inevitable difficulties within the workplace of employees wanting to spend time watching the football rather than working. The challenge for an employer is deciding how to manage this situation. You need to decide what your business needs are and how flexible you can be, if you want to be, in respect of allowing your employees to follow their passion.
Whatever you decide to do, one thing you will need to invest in is a schedule showing all of the games. If you intend to allow employees to book time off to follow certain matches then a list of fixtures will help you plan your staffing needs in advance. If you dont intend to allow employees time off then it will make it easier for you to see if there is any correlation between the games and any sudden bouts of sickness.
From a legal perspective your employees do not have the right to time off to watch the football. It does not count as a religion, even though it can appear that way at times, so your employees have no right to expect special consideration for this. Similarly there is no right to request flexible working as this is not for the purposes of looking after children even if they want to watch the match too. Any concessions that you want to make are entirely at your discretion.
Remember that people who want to follow the football are going to try and find ways to do so. The question for you as an employer becomes how disruptive you are going to find that in the workplace and what method of tackling this suits you best.
An option open to you is to allow your employees to take leave in respect of the matches they wish to watch. You can give them a choice of using up some of their paid annual leave or taking unpaid leave. Remind your employees that they cannot work under the influence of alcohol if they were intending to drink while watching the game and then return to work.
Whatever you decide to do you need to remind your employees that while they are at work they are expected to carry out the work for which they are paid and face disciplinary action if they do not do so. You will have to watch out for employees who try to follow the game over the internet, either using the company internet or their mobile phone, while they are supposed to be working and act accordingly.
If you are worried about the World Cup and the possible affects on your business, call the Advice Service on 0844 892 2772 and one of our trained specialists will be on hand to help. We’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.