World Cup Employee Issues

Between 12 June and 13 July 2014 employers will face a number of issues relating to the World Cup games from requests for annual leave, to suspicious sickness absences and high levels of internet usage during matches.

As this World Cup is being held in Brazil most matches will kick off between 5:00pm and 11:00pm.

ACAS have published some guidance to employers. This urges employers to be as flexible as possible for this period of time to try and maintain a productive and motivated workforce. They suggest that, in advance of the World Cup or other similar events, that the employers make their position clear about issues such as booking time off, watching TV at work, sickness absences and internet usage.

Employers should consider :-

Annual Leave Requests

Employers should have a policy that states how much notice is needed to book annual leave and that requests are always subject to the employer’s agreement. This should prevent too many employees asking for the same time off or doing so at the last minute. ACAS suggests that employers might want to operate this policy with more flexibility during the World Cup as it is for a short period of time. However that is entirely down to the business and its requirements for employees work.

Given the likely kick off times in this World Cup most games will be in the later afternoon and evening so it might be more sensible to offer a more flexible working day if a large number of employees want to take the same days off.

Sickness Absence

Employees taking days off sick to watch a match or the day after a match due to a hangover can cause serious problems for an employer. Employees should be reminded of the company policy on unauthorised absences and absence levels should be carefully monitored during periods like this. Back to work meetings with any employees taking sick leave can be an effective deterrent to this sort of absence.

Alcohol at Work

It is useful to remind your employees what your policy on being under the influence of alcohol at work is and if necessary remind employees that they may be subjected to disciplinary action.

If you plan to show matches in the workplace and prove or permit alcohol to be consumed it is also worth having a clear policy about the expected level of behaviour. Fox Whitfield can provide employers with these sorts of policies.

Internet Usage

Games that take place during working hours are very likely to coincide with a big increase in the use of twitter, facebook and sites streaming matches and commentary. Again it will be worth reminding employees about your policy on the use of the internet during working.

Paul Whitfield can be contacted on 0161 2831276 or

Employment Law Solicitors – Head Office based in Manchester with offices located throughout the United Kingdom.