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08 Jun 2018

The World Cup in Russia is soon to be upon us with the tournament running from 14 June until 15 July 2018.
Headaches of many varieties can occur during such major sporting events, whether alcohol induced or those created by more practical workplace issues.
 ACAS have recently published guidance to help employers identify and prepare for any such effect in the workplace.
Issues of many types can arise, including:-
·         The planning of annual leave for a number of employees who may want to take time off at the same time to watch a big match, balanced with the needs of the business and also with other employees who want time off that has nothing to do with the World Cup;
·         Employees who travel to Russia but who do not leave themselves sufficient time to factor in travel delays or who may not be in a fit state to work when they do return (whether due to too much partying/commiserating, a lack of sleep… or all of the above!);
·         Patterns which may emerge of employees who are “ill” or “awol” on the day of a big match or the day after;
·         You may even decide to organise a workplace event to watch a game during normal working hours. But, what do you then do about employees who have no interest in watching the football or who support another team?
The ACAS guidance suggests that you consider some or all of the following:-
·         Plan ahead now and consider having agreements or policies in place regarding annual leave, sickness absence or agreements about watching a match during working hours;
·         Consider whether the business needs allow you to take a flexible approach, whether to some short term flexible working practices for those who request it (perhaps starting earlier or later and making up the time another day), or allowing employees to watch a match during work hours;
·         Apply a consistent and fair approach to all employees when allowing any additional benefits during this period;
·         Monitor any levels of absence during the tournament and deal with unauthorised absence or patterns in absence around match times/days in the normal way, using a formal process;
·         You may wish to remind your employees of social media and internet use, including what is acceptable and not acceptable in terms of content and usage;
·         Remind staff of what is expected of them during match days, including any alcohol policies or rules you may have. You may wish to remind employees that drinking alcohol during working hours under any circumstances may result in disciplinary action.



Kerry Waters | Associate | Watson Burton LLP

0345 901 2044

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