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World Cup fever

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Tuesday 24th June 2014 at 5pm may seem like a long way away, but it's a time and date HR teams need to consider now.


Because it's the kick-off of England's final group game at this year's Football World Cup when they face Costa Rica at the Belo Horizonte Stadium in Brazil, and history has shown that major sporting events can disrupt working patterns.

Depending how the previous games have gone it could be a crucial match and consideration needs to be given as to how this could affect your workplace. In the past some employers have found that when major events take place their have staffing issues which can affect their business such as unauthorised absences, sickness and conflicts over who can take time off.

The scheduling of the matches and time-zone differences between the UK and Brazil mean that the earliest games at the tournament start at 17:00 UK time, with others later in the evening, so for many businesses disruption should be minimal. The full schedule can be found here.

Past experience shows however that if employers don't decide on their policy early it can cause workplace difficulties - particularly if the 'home teams' progress through to the later stages of the competition (fingers crossed!).

Options you may want to consider include:

  • Allowing staff to take holiday on a first come first served basis, providing cover is available.
  • Allowing staff to come in early so that they can finish early on specific days (or work through their lunch)
  • Installing a television at work and using the matches as an opportunity for a staff 'social'.
  • Making it clear that unauthorised absences will be treated through your disciplinary policy.

Whatever you decide you need to ensure that it does not leave a section of your workforce feeling unfairly treated (not everyone will be interested in the football), and you may at this early stage want to ask for ideas from your employees.

For help on any staff policy issues please speak to our employment law team.