How to stop staff missing work during Euro 2016

June 9, 2016

how to stop staff missing work during euro 2016

The sun is shining and the Euro 2016 Championship Finals are almost here – June 10th for one month.  Whilst this is an exciting time, where the home nations get behind England, Wales and Norther Ireland and many other teams in today’s multi-cultural society (for three matches at least!!), it can also create problems in the workplace.

Managing absenteeism in the workplace is costly in both terms of time and money.  The matches fall on all days of the week and kick-off times are 14.00, 17.00 and 20.00 GMT.  Whatever time and day a match falls on you may have some employees who want to watch (and for certain matches a lot of employees), potentially the most noteworthy for you being England Versus Wales at 2.00pm on Thursday 16th June. So how can you accommodate requests whilst also being able to run your business efficiently?

You may be willing to introduce some changes for the month which will allow supporters to watch some matches that may take place in working hours. Consider – is this unpaid time? (If not it may a problem, as others who do not want to watch could feel aggrieved that certain employees are having paid time off).  However, you may have a business that cannot afford disruption and you require all employees to continue to work normally.

Keep in mind that employees may choose not to take time off but Euro 2016 may still be a distraction for some. Employees may lose time trying to keep track of the scores during games, attempt to watch the game on their company PC’s or Laptops or on their own devices while at work. To avoid excessive timewasting remind your employees of your expectations for their performance whilst at work during France 2016 and reiterate your policies on the use of the company computer systems and/or your mobile phone policy.

There is also the issue of employees watching matches outside working hours but as a result in over-consumption of alcohol, it has knock-on consequences for work attendance later in the day or even the next day.

Whatever your stance, the important thing is communication to all employees as early as possible.  Failure to do so will inevitably result in confusion, disruption and in extreme instances disciplinary issues with potentially damaging and expensive Employment Tribunal proceedings.




Encourage employees to take holiday entitlement

You will need to decide in advance how many employees you can have off at any one time and how the requests will be dealt with and communicate this. Remember – you may have several requests come to you at once and you need to deal with these requests in a fair and consistent manner.

Shift Swapping

Ensure that the rules are communicated and that the employee comes to you or a dedicated person with the solution already in place

Unpaid Time Off

This should only be permitted if you are happy with supplementary leave being taken in addition to the normal paid entitlement.  Again, you may have the issue of employees who are not interested in football subsequently asking for additional unpaid leave for other reasons and may feel discriminated against if others are granted leave.  Any rules must be communicated, in writing to all employees.

Installation of a Television On-Site

This has worked successfully in some firms, however it may also cause a problem of employees wanting to watch all games and/or see how games are progressing during the day.  You will also need to ensure you have the appropriate licence, which may be an extra cost.

Work as Normal

Whatever your decision, you need to set out your expectations and communicate this in writing to all employees as soon as possible, including the fact that any unauthorised absence will result in a return to work interview and may result in disciplinary action being taken.  Include in your communication the consequences of over consumption of alcohol having an adverse effect on work attendance and/or work performance.


France 2016 may be a great opportunity to boost morale however you decide to approach it but don’t let over exuberance and inter-country rivalry spill over into harassment and unwanted behaviour. Remind your employees of your policies concerning respect at work such as your Equal Opportunities Policies and Disciplinary policies.

BE CAREFUL – It is all too easy to jump in at the deep end and take severe disciplinary action and get all the procedures wrong.  The consequences of this will be poor morale and quite possibly an Employment Tribunal proceeding.  Ensure all employees are aware of the Disciplinary, Absence and Alcohol Policies and consequences of not complying with them.

As we know all being well for the home nations these events, either the Euros or the World Cup come around every two years, plus countless other major sporting events that take place regularly, to be prepared for these you may want to consider having a Sporting Events policy.

If you would like more information on introducing a Sporting Events Policy or if you need any help or guidance leading up to the Finals or during them please contact H.E.L.P. on 01543 431050.

This post is in: Employee Relations Blogs, Employment Law Blogs

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