How Employers Can Avoid an HR Own Goal During the FIFA World Cup 2022

Employers can avoid an HR own goal during this year’s FIFA World Cup by planning ahead and taking some simple steps.

An HR Survival Guide for Employers

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicks off on 20 November 2022 and will run until 18 December 2022 and sees 32 nations taking part in 64 matches. Whilst this will no doubt excite football fans others will be less excited including many Employers, not least due to the difficulties it could cause them.

The not so good news for UK Employers

With kick off times for group matches scheduled for 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm, staff could still phone in sick or worse simply not turn up in order to watch matches and this could have serious implications for Employers.

To help Employers better understand the risks and equip them with tools to better manage the situation and create a positive outcome for both employer and employee, we’ve outlined below the keys points Employers should consider.

Potential Issues Employers Might Face

  • Unauthorised absence
  • Staff being drunk / under the influence of alcohol at work
  • Inappropriate conduct by employees – discrimination, racism, bullying or harassment
  • Increases in holiday requests from both football and non-football fans alike

Ways Employers Could Avoid Issues

Employers should ensure they have clear policies in place including:

  • Sickness & Absence Policy
  • Code of Conduct
  • Discipline & Grievance Policy
  • Bullying & Harassment Policy
  • Drugs & Alcohol Policy
  • Equality & Diversity Policy

Manage absenteeism in advance

  • Make it clear to employees that absences without authorisation will not be paid and may lead to action under the Disciplinary Policy.
  • Utilise Return to Work Interviews to identify and address fake sickness absence or absent resulting from post-match hangovers

Reconsider Your Holiday Arrangements

  • Relax caps on the number of employees that are allowed to be on holiday at one time
  • Where staff have indicated they want to see certain matches, encourage them to take the time off as annual leave.
  • Remember non-football fans may make holidays requests during the same period and so you will need to ensure you treat all holiday requests fairly and equally.  Granting a holiday request by a male employee but refusing a holiday request from a female employee could trigger a claim of sex discrimination!

Other Things Employers Can Consider

  • Screening matches in a meeting room or communal area.
  • Relaxing your Internet Policy and allow employees to stream matches on their PCs.
  • You will need to ensure you have the appropriate licenses in place which allow screening or streaming of live TV within the workplace.

Do You Need Assistance?

Events like this can create legal pitfalls for Employers, especially those who don’t have up to date HR policies in place. The specialist employment law team at Employment Law Services (ELS) LTD have extensive experience in advising UK Employers and can review your existing HR policies to make sure they up to date and compliant with current legislation and the ACAS Code of Conduct. If you have any queries or concerns you can call us on 0800 612 4772Contact Us via our website or Book a Free Consultation online.