News & Events
The World Cup’s in full swing, but it’s not too late to check your holiday and flexible working policies in anticipation of further requests from staff to take time off for matches, says Jonathan Dale, Head of Employment at Andrew Jackson Solicitors
How do you react to a holiday request connected to the World Cup?
Your contracts or policies may set out how much notice employees must give you of their holiday plans. If not, the notice an employee gives has to be twice as long as the holiday they are asking for. So, two days’ holiday requires four days’ notice.
If you refuse proposed holiday dates then you must do so in writing, and the length of notice of the refusal must be at least as long as the holiday requested.
Flexible Working Arrangements
As an alternative to holidays been taken during the World Cup season, you might consider flexible working. Before any change is agreed, think carefully about whether the business can function with the changes. If it can’t, issues will arise from those employees left to cope with the changes. It is important to be consistent in your approach to avoid any potential discrimination claims.
You should warn your employees that taking ‘sickies’ will not be tolerated. It would be wise to have a self-certification form for absences of less than seven days, as part of your absence policy. Ideally it should include a statement, which the employee has to sign confirming the genuine reasons for their sickness. You should always thoroughly investigate any suspected ‘sickies’ rather than acting upon suspicion.
Give in to it
To avoid the headache of low attendance at work and a flood of holiday requests, you may wish to enable staff to watch or listen to the matches at work. This may boost morale and team spirit – and improve productivity in the longer term.
Be aware of the knock on effects in the short term, such as distraction and/or low productivity around key matches. There’s also the potential for resentment building among non football-loving employees who are continuing to work while others are watching the game.
Updates via internet or mobile phones are common place. You should remind employees of IT/communication policies in place. It should also be made clear that unauthorised or excessive use of the company internet is prohibited. Similarly, that distraction by way of internet or mobile phone updates may result in disciplinary action.
Banter in the workplace
You are liable for the unlawful conduct of your employees and, what may be seen as friendly banter by some, may be considered bullying by others. It must be made clear to employees that such behaviour is unacceptable.
The typical workplace in the UK in 2018 is culturally diverse and this must be taken into account.
Workforces are diverse and our advice should not be restricted purely to England games. All requests should be treated the same.
For further help and advice on these or any other employment issues, please get in touch with our employment team by calling (01482) 325242 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org