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MILS LEGAL UPDATE – The World Cup: Absence and ProductivityBack

WorldCupThe World Cup will take place in Brazil between Thursday 12 June and Sunday 13 July 2014.

Motor industry employers are advised to consider the impact on their business and how to get the best from their workforce. Of course, the flexibility (or otherwise) to employee absence and productivity problems during the World Cup is likely to be influenced by the enthusiasm of bosses and managers for “The Beautiful Game” and, indeed, how English your workforce is.

How lenient will you be when a blurry eyed sales person loses a commission? or a customer’s vehicle is left unrepaired by an absent technician?

The basic legal position is that an employer is entitled to expect certain levels of capability and conduct. Unauthorized absence or poor performance can be dealt with via the disciplinary procedures if required. Major sporting events are not an exception. Some employers however take a less legalistic view and to improve morale believe that flexibility is the best option.

ACAS itself has recently published World Cup advice and guidance on its website, noting that the World Cup will raise employment issues such as annual leave, sickness, productivity and indeed excessive website use during working hours. ACAS advises a conciliatory and flexible approach from both employers and employees, whilst acknowledging that in challenging economic times an employer cannot always be completely flexible.

For further information on the ACAS suggestions see:

We at MILS suggest the following tips to assist:

1. Clear communication

Depending on the nature of your business and the nature of the employee’s particular role, sometimes flexibility is simply not possible, but sometimes it is. Clear communication between employer and employee is therefore essential. Many employers will be issuing memos or guidance to employees on what is, and what is definitely not, expected during the tournament.

2. Flexibility

It is a simple fact that most employers find that planned absence is far easier to cope with than unplanned absence. Employers are therefore well advised to be flexible wherever they can, whilst also obviously making clear the disciplinary consequences of unauthorized leave.

3. Tune in

If you are able to screen matches in the workplace, or turn rooms into areas where television or radio can be set up, without being too disruptive, then certainly consider the same. Many employers find that by embracing major sporting events morale can be boosted with work and life balance being important to employees. This arguably boosts morale and productivity in the long run. The recent London 2012 Olympics were an example of the same. Furthermore, from a commercial perspective, a certain degree of enthusiasm and patriotism is also likely to be welcomed by customers in our industry.

4. Drop outs

Finally, remember the portion of the workforce that don’t want to join in (and that’s not just the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish, who may be less passionate about the upcoming event)! It is important employers make sure that non footfall fans are not left disadvantaged, or doing the lion’s share of the work, because of leniency to fans of the 3 lions.


Posted by Sue Robinson on 13/06/2014