Businesses call for World Cup time off

BOSSES in Essex should allow their staff days off work to watch the World Cup or even screen games in the office for football fans, a business organisation has claimed.

BOSSES should allow staff days off work to watch the World Cup or even screen games in the office, a business organisation has claimed.

Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said men and women should be given equal chance to watch the matches and flexible working systems could be introduced on match days.

It also urged employers to make workers who call in sick on match or post-match days provide medical proof of their illness.

With World Cup fever gripping the country, the FSB said its guidance should allow footie lovers “to follow their team with no adverse impact on the business or employment.”

It also advised businesses to tackle the issues before kick-off on June 11 so full attention could be given over to the beautiful game.

Essex FSB chairman, Iain Wicks, said: “The World Cup only comes round every four years so we should all be able to enjoy it as much as possible.

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“Employers in Essex need to start engaging with their staff to make sure they put plans in place to cater for those employees that want to watch the football, as well as those that don’t and might want to work overtime during this period.

“Both employers and their staff need to look at celebrating the World Cup realistically.

“Employers need to be aware of the impact that unplanned absence could have on their ability to trade and employees need to know that throwing a sickie rather than asking for time off could result in disciplinary procedures.”

He added: “Being prepared will let everyone benefit fully from the tournament and ultimately enjoy it.

“Sorting out these issues before the first game kicks off means everyone can relax and enjoy the matches, while making sure jobs still get done in the workplace.”

The FSB guidance in full is:

n Agreeing with employees that they can take the relevant days or half-days off as part of their annual leave entitlement in the usual way

n Granting employees special unpaid leave

n Where possible, putting in place a flexible working system on match days so that staff can watch the matches by, for example, granting a longer break or allowing them to come into work later or leave earlier and make the time up

n Allowing staff to listen to the radio or watch the television at work. You could allow short breaks at regular intervals or you could have the radio or television on in the background

n Not forgetting that not everyone supports England and not all football fans are male. There are 32 teams participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and football has a strong female following

n Not discriminating when deciding which matches to grant time off and not favouring your male employees over your female employees

n Putting in place a requirement that employees who phone in sick on key match days (or post-match days) provide medical evidence of their sickness absence, for example, some proof that they visited their GP or a doctor’s certificate

n Putting in place a requirement that employees who are off sick during the 2010 FIFA World Cup period must notify their absence to a specified person. This will help make your employees aware that you are closely monitoring sickness absence during this period.