DEBATE: Should your employer give you time off to watch the Euros?
Should you be given time off, extended breaks or flexible hours during Euro 2016 so you can keep up with the big matches?
Sir Brendan Barber, chair of workplace experts Acas, thinks it’s something your employer should be considering if they want to remain productive and avoid conflicted loyalties during the Euros.
With the tournament taking place in France between Friday 10 June and Sunday 10 July, many of the matches are scheduled during regular working hours - with kick-offs between 2pm and 8pm.
Acas is advising employers and small businesses to put agreements in place that cover requests for time off, sickness absence, website use during working hours or watching TV during this period.
Acas Chair, Sir Brendan Barber, said: “The Euro 2016 tournament is an exciting event for many football fans but staff should avoid getting a red card for unreasonable demands or behaviour in the workplace during this period.
“Many businesses need to maintain a certain staffing level in order to survive. Employers should have a set of simple workplace agreements in place before kick off to help ensure their businesses remain productive whilst keeping staff happy too.
“Our guidance published today can help managers get the best from their team players, arrange appropriate substitutions if necessary and avoid unnecessary penalties or unplanned send offs.”
England and Wales will clash on Thursday 16 June at 2pm and Northern Irish fans will be angling for an early finish that same day, with a 5pm kick off for their clash against Ukraine.
If any of the home nations progress beyond the group stage, it’s only weekend and night shift workers that have to worry, with later clashes taking place at weekends or evening kick offs.
Acas has released these top tips for employers during the 2016 European Championship:
Annual leave - employers may wish to look at being a little more flexible when allowing employees leave during this period and employees should remember that it may not always be possible to book leave off. The key is for both parties to try and come to an agreement. All requests for leave should be considered fairly. A consistent approach should be applied for leave requests for other major sporting events too as not everyone likes football!
Sickness absence - levels of attendance should be monitored during this period in accordance with the company’s attendance policy. Any unauthorised absence or patterns of absence could result in formal proceedings. This could include the monitoring of high levels of sickness or late attendance due to post match celebrations.
Flexibility - one possible option is to have a more flexible working day. Employees could come in a little later or finish sooner and then agree when this time can be made up.
Allowing staff to listen to the radio or watch the TV may be another possible option. Employers could also allow staff to take a break during match times. Another option is to look at allowing staff to swap shifts with their manager’s permission.
It is important to be fair and consistent with all staff if you allow additional benefits during the European Championship. Any change in hours or flexibility in working hours should be approved before the event.
Use of social media and websites - there may be an increase in the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter or websites covering Euro 2016.
Employers should have a clear policy on web use in the workplace that is communicated to all employees. If employers are monitoring internet usage then the law requires them to make it clear that it is happening to all employees.
Drinking or being under the influence at work - some people may like to participate in a drink or two while watching the match or go to the pub to watch a match live. It is important to remember that anyone caught drinking at work or under the influence of alcohol in the workplace could be subject to disciplinary procedures. There may be a clear no alcohol policy at work and employees may need a reminder.
Acas’ full guidance for the 2016 European Championship is available at http://www.acas.org.uk/euro2016