As I am sure you are aware, World Cup 2014 is starting today and we want to ensure that you are prepared as an employer, in the event that employee issues arise as a result of this tournament, particularly attendance at work during games and on the day following games.

The World Cup is commencing today, 12th June and runs until 13th July. Employees should have requested this time off by now or in the coming days if they wish to take annual leave during this time for matches.

The main issues that could arise as a result of World Cup 2014, for employers, is that employees will be seeking additional time off either as annual leave or unscheduled time off. Unauthorised absence/increased sick leave may also be an issue for employers. Most games will be in the evening time -those employers who have evening/night shifts will need to be particularly prepared and pre-empt absence.

You as an employer, will first need to establish what your policy is to be during this period. Once you have decided the stance you wish to take with employees during this period, you will need to ensure this policy is clearly outlined to employees in the coming days to ensure they are clear about what is expected of them.

In deciding what you want to enforce for employees, you should pay attention to the following:

  • Inform employees that, if they wish to take time off, they must apply for annual leave immediately – and let them know that it will be on a first come, first served basis.
  • Perhaps give staff the opportunity to swap shifts with colleagues who may not be interested in the matches- ensure all shifts are adequately covered.
  • Be mindful of your employees who are not football lovers and do not want to take any time off during these games. Ensure there is fair treatment between all staff and ensure football fans are not getting special treatment and additional time off over those who do not follow the game.
  • Make it clear that all employees are expected to be in work as normal, unless they have requested time off etc., during World Cup 2014. Outline that you expect productivity and attendance etc., to remain as it is currently.
  • You could outline that for any absences during this time (within reason), due to illness; employees are required to provide a medical certificate upon their return.
  • Employees may also arrive to work still under the influence of alcohol. If this is discovered, you need to act fast. Send the employee to the company doctor immediately to be checked by the doctor to establish if the employee is under the influence of alcohol. If the employee is found to be under the influence he/she should be sent home. It may be time to engage a disciplinary process with the employee at this stage.
  • If applicable, you may consider screening the games in house as a goodwill gesture to employees.
    • Be mindful if there are a number of matches on, you will need to allow employees have their say on which match is shown.
  • Employees may attempt to stream matches online on work computers, the company’s internet usage policy should be outlined to employees and the company’s expectations also outlined to employees here.

The key to avoiding any issues during World Cup 2014 is to make sure you clearly outline to staff (in advance), what is expected of them and that absences etc., will not be tolerated.

The above advice is courtesy of Lorraine Byrne, Senior Account Manager at The HR Company.

The HR Company: Costs and Services