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Managing absences during the World Cup

This summer is packed with sporting events, from the eagerly anticipated World Cup to the Commonwealth Games.

By showing flexibility and being upfront with employees on expectations, employers can use these widely-popular events as an opportunity to enhance staff morale and productivity. Early discussions with employees will help avoid any unnecessary workplace disputes, enabling everyone to enjoy these exciting events.

Flexible working

If a business doesn’t already have a flexible working policy it may be something for the employer to consider, even as a short-term measure. Suggestions include:

- Have a more flexible working day, allowing employees to come in a little later or finish earlier. It may be that employment contracts have flexibility provisions in them, making these small adjustments easier to manage.

- Allow staff to listen or watch some events in the workplace. It may also be possible to allow staff to take a break during popular events.

- With the retail sector employing many part-time and temporary workers, it might be an idea for managers to facilitate employee shift swapping. This needs to be agreed and approved before the event so that there is a clear understanding of shift patterns between employees.

Unauthorised absences

There are different approaches that employers can implement to help employees enjoy important matches without compromising the needs of the business.

These include:
- flexible working hours;
- shift swaps;
- unpaid leave; and
- special screening of matches on premises.

Unless any of these changes are temporarily implemented by management, then a business will have the same rules on sickness and absence during these events as at any other time.

Employers will have a greater focus on absence levels given the high profile of these events. Levels of attendance should be monitored during this period and any unauthorised absence could result in formal disciplinary proceedings.

Rather than being entirely policy focused and appearing to be less than flexible, there is the opportunity for employers to enter into upfront positive discussions with employees to remind them of the rules without being seen to be heavy handed after the event.

That will help manage matters pro-actively and more considerately.








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