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Flexible Football Fever

Employment / 11 June 2018

With the World Cup 2018 kicking off in Russia this week, football fever is heating up.  Employers should be considering how they will deal with employees’ requests to view matches and how to minimise the event’s impact on staff productivity.

Remaining flexible during major events like this is always key – but you may also wish to inform staff from the outset of what you expect from them.

Acas has recently published this guidance to help employers plan ahead.  As outlined in the guidance, the key messages for employers are:

Plan Ahead – ensure that you have the correct procedures in place (for example, Time Off, Sickness, Disciplinary and Social Media policies) and engage with your staff to gauge interest and impact.

Be Flexible (where possible) – is it possible to allow a flexible working practice (for example, starting later or finishing earlier), if only on a temporary basis?  Can employees listen to the radio or watch TV at set times?  Can shift patterns and/or breaks be swapped or altered?  Remember that taking a flexible approach can help boost staff morale.

Time Off – this should be booked in the normal way, but consider if you are able to allow some extra flexibility on a temporary basis?  If a significant number of employees wish to take the same period of time away from work for one particular match, consider a “first come first served” approach – but ensure fairness and consistency.

Sickness Absence – again, your Sickness Policy will apply in the normal way and should be operated fairly and consistently.  Monitor the levels of sickness absence for signs of unauthorised absence or specific absence patterns.  Consider formal absence management and/or disciplinary action if this becomes appropriate.

Social Media – it is highly likely that staff will be online and/or using social media much more frequently.  Consider reminding staff of your Internet Use/Social Media policies so that they are aware of the limits on acceptable use.

Alcohol – in the event that staff are under the influence of alcohol, or drink alcohol, while at work, you should consider action under your Disciplinary Policy in the normal way.  You may wish to consider introducing a No Alcohol Policy if you do not already have one.

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