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Employers Should Be On The Ball as Footie Fever Hits

Amber Bate Employment Solicitor landscapeWith three home nations into the next stage of the 2016 European Football Championships, Midlands companies are being urged to be on the ball when it comes to employees having time off to watch matches.

Employment solicitor Amber Bate said that as football fever takes over offices, factories and homes across the nation this summer, employers need to be aware of the impact that large scale sporting events can have on their workplace.

Amber, a lawyer with award-winning law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, said: “Any major sporting event brings up employment issues for businesses. It is prudent for employers to plan in advance how their business could potentially face disruption and plan against those disruptions, by reviewing their policies as well as briefing management on how they are expected to deal with any problematic issues.

“Although some employers chose to provide communal areas for employees working in the evening and on nights to watch the England v Wales game last week, other employers will undoubtedly have found extra holiday requests coming in and traditionally, a rise in the number of employee sick days and a drop in productivity as well.”

A survey by telecoms and IT services provider Coms plc, involving 100 UK business leaders, estimated a loss to British business of 250,000,000 working hours during the last major international football tournament, the 2014 World Cup.

Amber added: “June and July are already popular times of the year for holiday requests and last minute requests will need to be managed to avoid disruption to the business. Employers may opt for a simple first come, first served basis or, in the event of numerous requests, consider drawing names at random.

“An increased number of ‘sickies’ are inevitable. We would advise employers to ensure they have a clear sickness absence policy in place during the following weeks and that any cases of suspected malingering are investigated as misconduct in the normal way.    

“And even if companies have not developed a policy for watching games during working hours, many staff will try to access the games while at work, via TVs, radios and increasingly watching and listening online. Employers should consider any likely disruption which will be caused and the effect it may have on productivity and the best way to combat this.”

The draw between England and Slovakia has seen the team progress from the Euro 2016 group stages and guarantee at least one extra fixture in the tournament. If the national team does progress towards the latter stages of the competition, businesses can expect further pressure to grant leave requests at short notice.

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 June 2016 15:40

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