With the FIFA World Cup upon us, we felt it necessary to illustrate some challenges from an employment law perspective. Our goal with this article is to provide some advice to employers so they know the score when it comes to World Cup issues. (We promise to keep the football puns to a minimum!).
It is always recommend employers have a staff handbook in place to set out workplace policies and in situations such as this, where there may be more absences than usual and a change in the atmosphere of the workplace, it is even more crucial. Well drafted policies on absence, internet use and holiday requests will help to keep any World Cup disruptions to an absolute minimum and ensure if there are any situations where an employee may be taking advantage or abusing a policy, it is clear the correct course of action – whether to use a yellow or red card!!
An employer may end up with increased staff absences during the World Cup. It is important to handle these in a fair and consistent manner. As an employer, it is crucial they are approached in the same way any staff absence is usually approached, following the clear set policies and procedures. If it is the case that a member of staff is off work on a match day and claiming it to be due to illness but this is suspected to be untrue, then it is important to gather clear evidence to support this before any disciplinary action is taken. It could be that it is a genuine sickness/absence and if the employee in question feels they are being unfairly punished, this could lead to a grievance aimed at the employer/manager.
Requests for Time Off
A workplace may have an increase in holiday requests around particular, popular matches. Be fair and consistent in the approach to approving or declining these. It may be most appropriate to handle them on a first come first served basis to avoid any complaints of favouritism.
All matches are to be screened live this year and with potential for streaming matches at work, slowing down the internet for other staff, it is important to remind employees of social media and internet use at work. This is a common policy to include within a staff handbook. If the policy does not allow any personal use of the internet or social media whilst at work then it may be a good idea to remind employees of the score and make sure they are not abusing this.
Hopefully this won’t be necessary but as an employer it is important to be aware of football banter and make sure it doesn’t turn into anything nasty. If there are concerns any banter could potentially be discriminatory (for example, race discrimination includes nationality) or any bullying is taking place, it needs to be addressed straight away.
It’s not all doom and gloom – the World Cup can be a good opportunity to do some team building and can be a good morale boost within the work place. If possible, it could be good to hold a workplace screening of a match or a workplace sweep stake with a prize for the winner.
How can we help?
If you would like any advice on anything you have read in this article, particularly on the recommended policies and staff handbook, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01343 544077