The 2016 UEFA football European championships – Euro 2016 – started on 10th June, with 51 matches due to be played in France over the course of a month.
With England, Wales and Northern Ireland all guaranteed three games each at the group stages and the top two from each group qualifying for the knock-out stage, along with the four third-placed teams with the best record in the group stage, many matches are scheduled within normal working time for employees. The first being England v Wales on Thursday 16th June at 2pm. Scheduling such as this could provide a headache for many employers but by following these 6 pieces of advice, you can be sure that you’re treating your employees fairly whilst still keeping the company’s best interests at heart.
1: Deal fairly with competing requests for time off.
You may have to deal with an increase in holiday requests from employees who want time off to watch matches. While many requests will be for half a day only to watch a particular match, others will be for a few days for the employee to travel to France to support his or her team.
It may not be possible to accommodate all requests but by ensuring all employees are familiar with your holiday request procedure and all managers adhere to it, you can ensure holiday requests are approved fairly. Where holiday requests cannot be granted, a flexible approach to working hours could prove to be a beneficial and satisfactory conclusion.
2: Take steps to control sickness absence.
Employees who know you will be monitoring sickness absence are less likely to “pull a sickie” to be able to watch a match (or recover from over-celebration or commiseration the night before).
You can help to control short-term sickness absence by making your sickness absence policy clear and addressing the situation if they suspect that an employee’s sickness is not genuine.
3: Take advantage of the tournament to boost morale.
Football tournaments like the Euros are a great opportunity to boost morale among staff by showing key matches in the workplace and allowing your staff to watch games together during work hours.
The employees who take advantage of the opportunity to take a break from work and watch a match can be required to make up lost time. It may also be handy to remind them of the rules on alcohol consumption at work and conduct generally.
4: Avoid problems caused by excessive time-wasting.
It’s possible that over the next few weeks you will experience a reduction in productivity due to employees:
- Watching matches on their work desktops and laptops;
- Watching matches on their own devices; and
- Talking about the football.
While some excitement and wanting to keep up with the latest scores is inevitable, you can take action with excessive time-wasting and misuse of systems.
5: Take care to avoid discrimination.
Ensuring that no particular groups are disadvantaged during the Euros is really important for employers. Requests for time off and flexibility around working hours by employees who are not following the tournament should also be considered fairly and consistently. For example, the holy month of Ramadan and the religious festival of Eid will be taking place during the same few weeks and those of Muslim belief may request time off to celebrate.
Other employees who are foreign nationals may want to follow their own team and any flexibility afforded to England, Wales and Northern Ireland fans should also be extended to them.
Just make sure any inter-country rivalry stays within acceptable boundaries and doesn’t cross into harassment.
6: Make your expectations clear to employees.
Combining all of the above into one Sporting Events Policy will ensure your employees and managers know what is expected of them during events such as Euro 2016 and can help to avoid issues around misconduct, absenteeism and harassment.
The Euros isn’t the only major sporting event this summer, the 2016 Rio Olympics will be held during August so hang on to this list and get in touch with an HR Adviser to help implement a Sporting Events Policy.