The UK has always been a nation of born-and-bred football lovers and it should come as no surprise that fans are already beginning to get excited for the World Cup, after kick-off times for the group stages were recently confirmed for mid-June.
One area where businesses might run into problems is holiday requests. Employers may receive a number of requests for match days but, if there are too many, they will not all be able to grant all of them.
Employers need to handle any requests for annual leave carefully in order to avoid workplace disputes, unauthorised absences or low morale among workers. If employees’ requests are unreasonable and allowances cannot be made, however, it might be worth considering temporarily relaxing the rules in the workplace in order to help fans keep up-to-speed with ‘the beautiful game’ while they work.
Businesses are under no legal obligation to relax their rules. However, this might be a practical way of reducing disruption if you feel that the World Cup might pose a problem.
Office-based businesses, for example, could consider relaxing their rules governing internet access during work hours by allowing employees to check football scores online.
Meanwhile, companies whose operations are based in workshops or garages could think about allowing employees to listen to football coverage on the radio while they work (although this may require a licence).
Crucially, if any of the above options are considered, employers need to ensure they strike the right balance between keeping their workers happy and still getting the work done – which means being clear about how much radio or internet use is ‘reasonable’ and sending around appropriate memos or emails to staff to communicate any restrictions.
Employers should also consider how the football might affect their workplace policies in other areas, such as alcohol use in the workplace. It is important to be clear with workers about what will and will not be considered acceptable behaviour – and that such information is passed on to employees in writing.
For further information or advice please call Hethertons’ Employment Team
on 01904 528 200 and speak to Jo or David.