Kate Brooks

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services

DATE PUBLISHED: 28 Nov 2022 LAST UPDATED: 30 Jan 2024

World Cup 2022: How to avoid disruption at work

The 2022 World Cup started on Sunday 20th November and finishes on Sunday 18th December 2022. You can find details of the match schedule here.

Some employees will want to watch these matches which may lead to issues in the workplace. However, allowing employees to watch the matches can be good for morale and encourage positivity.

There is no legal requirement for employers to give employees time off to watch World Cup matches, the decision to grant time off is for employers to consider. Some employers may choose to screen some matches to allow employees to watch where as other employers may require employees to request annual leave in the usual way if they would like to watch the matches live. If employers are implementing flexible working, employees may be able to watch the matches and make up the time later or some employers may consider a period of flexible working to accommodate key events.

It is very important not to be discriminatory, employers should be mindful of other nationalities when deciding which matches to watch as well as considering allowing time off to watch other key events that might be enjoyed by employees from different racial or age groups and genders who may not have an interest in the World Cup.

When considering annual leave requests, the needs of the business must be the priority and employers must ensure that they deal with any competing requests fairly and not favour any particular group – employees who consider that they have been treated unfairly could pursue a grievance. Employers should deal with requests for annual leave in the same way as they deal with requests for leave during other periods of high demand, for example, Christmas or the school holidays.

Employers should ensure they have clear disciplinary policies in place to deter employees from taking unauthorised absences or arriving late to work. Employers’ policies should also ensure they allow them to deal with any conduct issues that may arise as a result of the world cup. However, employers should also ensure that they carry out a proper investigation, follow a fair procedure and do not jump to conclusions if an employee is absent.

Some ideas to avoid any disruption and/or boost morale could include:

  • Consider introducing flexible working or allowing staff to swap shifts
  • Ensure that your disciplinary and sickness policies are properly implemented to avoid unauthorised absence and be clear about what you expect from employees.
  • Don’t discriminate
  • Give consideration to requests for leave and flexitime; or
  • Provide a television viewing room for key matches / allow staff to watch matches online or follow on the radio.

If you would like to speak to one of our Employment experts, please call 01202 525333 or email the team at employment@ellisjones.co.uk

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