euro 2016 2You don’t have to be a football fan to know that the Euro 2016 football tournament is only a few days away.  With 3 out of 4 home nations qualifying for the championship it goes without saying that most UK businesses will be impacted in some form.  51 matches are scheduled to take place over the course of a month starting this Friday 10 June and with many of these matches taking place close to or during working hours, employers need to plan for increased holiday requests and unauthorised absences.

At Backhouse Solicitors we are experts in employment law, and we’ve prepared a 5 step guide giving practical advice to all UK employers on how best to deal with staffing issues arising from Euro 2016.

  1. Communicate Your Expectations

If you haven’t already done so, we advise telling all employees what will be considered acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in advance of the tournament.  By putting this in writing and making it available to all staff, everyone will be clear on where you stand.  Consider providing guidance on:

  • using company equipment for streaming matches and checking scores
  • using email, internet and social media facilities
  • excessive use of personal mobile devices during the tournament

All of these can create distractions potentially leading to decreased productivity.

  1. Dealing with Holiday Requests

You will almost certainly be faced with multiple holiday requests for the same period of time which could cause problems when the employees are part of the same team.  Whilst it may not be possible to grant all annual leave you should be seen to deal fairly with all requests.  Make it clear how you would like to receive requests and advise what procedure will be followed when making your decision.

If you won’t be able to grant every request, consider offering flexible working hours or providing facilities for the matches to be viewed in the workplace.  This may help to create some goodwill with those employees whose requests are declined.  Be sure however, to provide guidelines on how these facilities are to be used to prevent long periods of absence impacting day to day duties.

  1. Sickness Absence

Recent statistics indicated that during last year’s Rugby World Cup there was a rise in workplace absenteeism by employees who “pulled a sickie” to watch matches.  We suggest that now would be a good time to remind staff of your sickness policy and ensure that employees are aware that all absences will be closely monitored.  It may be sufficient to deter unauthorised absence, however if an employee is found to have faked illness, and you have evidence, it can be treated as a disciplinary issue.

  1. Alcohol at Work

Some employees may wish to partake in a drink or two whilst watching a match, particularly during lunchtime or when watching a match live in a pub.  If you have a strict no alcohol policy (for example if employees are in high risk jobs) we suggest reminding employees that anyone caught drinking at work or found to be under the influence of alcohol in the workplace could be subject to disciplinary procedures.

  1. Beware of Discrimination & Harassment

Take this opportunity to remind staff about behaviour towards fellow employees.  Not everyone in the workplace will be interested in the football and may be distracted by events around them.  Similarly if your company employs foreign nationals they may chose to follow another team and shouldn’t be disadvantaged or discriminated against for doing so.  Keep a close eye on workplace banter and make sure it stays on the right side of acceptable.

Flexibility from both employers and employees is key to maintaining an effective business as well as an effective workforce during the Euro 2016 championship.  If you have any concerns about how the Euro 2016 could impact your business or if you need help drafting and communicating your company policies, call our specialist employment law team on 01245 893400 for a free initial consultation.

The Backhouse Solicitors Team

Tel:         01245 893400