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Euro 2016 – advice for employers

International sporting events can create a great atmosphere (if the team is doing well!) but can also lead to various issues in the workplace.

The Euro 2016 competition runs until 10 July and with kick off times between 2pm and 8pm the main problems for employers are likely to revolve around:

Holiday requests

Employers are likely to see an influx of annual leave requests and these should be dealt with by using the annual leave policy. Acas suggests that during the competition, employers may want to be more flexible around annual leave requests, providing that employees understand that this is a ‘special arrangement’ and that they must be pre-arranged. However, employers should be aware that employees may expect a ‘special arrangement’ for future sporting events and a considered and consistent approach should be taken.

The most important point to note is that all requests should be dealt with fairly, not just those of football fans. There should be no preference given to some requests over others.

Early finishes

The kick off times mean that many of the matches will start during work hours so employers can expect requests for early finishes or flexibility in working hours.

Again, flexibility by employers and employees is the best approach. It may be a good time to harness the high morale and improve employee engagement by authorising some lieu time, allowing employees to come in earlier and finish earlier, allow shift swaps or agree when the employee will make up the time – all depending on operational needs.

If operational demands mean that there is limited flexibility, consider whether it is possible to screen the matches or allow employees to listen to the matches on the radio. Again, all employees should be treated equally.

Sickness absence

Sickness absence policies will still apply and employers should monitor levels of attendance during this period. Employers should remind employees that any unauthorised absence or pattern in absence will be closely scrutinised and could lead to formal disciplinary proceedings.

However, even if someone does call in sick on match days, remember not to jump to conclusions and assume that an absence is not genuine. It is always essential to consider the evidence and undertake appropriate investigations before commencing any disciplinary action.

Internet/ social media use

Employers may find that there is an increase in employees using personal or workplace devices to watch coverage of the matches or to browse sporting websites. All employers should ideally have a policy regarding IT and social media use which sets out what is and is not acceptable. It may be worth reminding employees of any policy.

If employers are to monitor internet use, it is advisable that employees are informed in order to comply with data protection regulations.

Hangovers and being under the influence

Many people see watching the match as a social event and will partake in a couple of drinks. However, anyone caught drinking or under the influence at work could be subject to disciplinary proceedings. Employees should be reminded of any ‘no alcohol’ policy and the risks of disciplinary action.

Overall, working together, clear communication and forward planning will be key to maintaining a productive business and a happy workforce during any major sporting event.

Please feel free to contact us on 0191 282 2880 for a no obligation chat or email us if you require further advice.

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