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Blog  »  June 2016  »  Euro 2016 - Avoid having to issue a workplace red card - Blog
Jun 16

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Euro 2016 - Avoid having to issue a workplace red card

Euro 2016 starts this Friday 10 June, with France v Romania kicking off proceedings in Stade de France, Paris. Whether your employees are die-hard football fans or fare weather followers, the Euros are more than likely going to be a key water cooler conversation over the next few weeks.

Unfortunately for employers, major sporting events pose a management challenge as employees look to support their team, regardless of the day, or time of day.

On a positive note, getting the management of sporting events, such as the Euros, right can be a great way to inject fun in the workplace and increase employee morale.

Below we look at some of the challenges and how best to manage them.

The Management Challenges

Leave Requests

Whether it is multiple holiday requests or employees looking for time off to watch the game, the chances are employers will have increased leave requests during this time. First and foremost, employers will need to ensure business demands can be met, however where possible employers are advised to take a flexible approach to such requests:

  • can you be flexible with holiday requests
  • can shift swaps be permitted
  • is it possible to allow staff to make up the time before or after the football match?

Whatever process you follow, be it first come first served or pulling names out of a hat, it must be fair and consistently applied in a non-discriminatory fashion.

Sickness Absence

Sickness absence in the workplace often increases during sporting events. Employers are advised to monitor attendance records during the period, including reviewing sickness levels or late attendance due to post match celebrations. As with any period of unauthorised absences, unexplained or questionable attendance could result in formal disciplinary proceedings. Carrying out a return-to-work interview is always a recommended approach to managing short-term absences and should form part of any sickness absence policy.

Watching in Work

You may decide to screen the games in the workplace. If going down this route, it is advisable to again set some ground rules, such as; the employee must first obtain their manager’s permission to watch the game and that they understand that their work must not be compromised by watching the game.

It is also worth considering whether or not you will permit employees to watch the Euros on the internet. If employees are not allowed to watch the Euros on the internet during work hours it should be made clear to them that if they are found doing so, it will be a disciplinary matter. Be careful however, if you intend to monitor internet usage then this should be made clear to employees. Covert monitoring should not be conducted, so be sure to check your internet policies.

So to employers who wish to see the Euros pass off smoothly without having to issue any of their own red cards, the message is, be prepared. Agree an approach before the tournament begins, clearly communicate it to staff, and apply it consistently.

Enjoy the football.

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