POSTED: November 16 2022
Work and World Cup; Guide to navigating employee requests and issues

Work and World Cup; Guide to navigating employee requests and issues – advo

advo’s Jenni Welch  provides a guide to how to the managing the world cup and work place issues.

With the First Winter World Cup fast approaching starting on Sunday 20 November through to Sunday 18 December, advo would like to suggest that employers should plan ahead of this large sporting event to minimise potential disruption to your business,

As Qatar is 3 hours ahead of GMT, this means that some matches will be played during the working day.  Games will be kicking off between 10am and 7pm UK time.

Whilst employees are not automatically entitled to time off to watch World Cup games, this is a time that we would recommend that thought is given to employee morale, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. Some suggestions are detailed for your consideration.:

  • Think about screening key matches in the workplace;
  • Create temporarily flexible working – allow late starting or earlier finishes on match days;
  • Allow employees to watch together during working hours including remote watching of the key matches;
  • Permit decorations of the nations in workplaces such as flags of participating countries;
  • Allow employees to watch lunch time matches and they stay later to make up time;
  • If there are no facilities in work to watch matches, allow employee to watch or listen to matches on work devices or own mobile devices.

If you have a diverse workforce, you may also wish to make sure that such arrangements are also available to watch their own national Team.

Some employers may experience a reduction in productivity because employees are watching matches when they should be working.  This, of course, could become a problem if employees are working from home and there is less control over their activities during working hours.

It is a good idea for employers to remind employees in advance of the World Cup, that they should not be watching the World Cup when they should be working.

Previous World Cups are normally played during the summer holiday season where employees usually take holidays during these periods.  However, this World Cup is at the end of some holiday year ends, there may be an increase in sickness absence and such absences should be managed in line with your absence reporting procedure.

Please also be mindful as the World Cup is being held in Qatar, that given its publicised views on human rights, concerns over the treatment of women and the LGBTQ+ community, that some employees may feel alienated. Indeed, some employees may choose not to watch matches and  may request to work from home more frequently if matches are being shown in the workplace.

Some businesses also operate a sweepstake and we would remind employers that for some employees, any form of gambling is against their religion or belief.

We would therefore suggest that any workplace events relating to the World Cup are entirely optional, no pressure should be applied to any employee if they do not wish to participate and employees  should not be disadvantaged if they do not want to take part.

We would also remind employers to be aware of any potential discrimination issues which may arise as there could be an increased risk of discriminatory comments, which may be viewed by the employees as  “banter” in the workplace.  Please always remember that employers are liable for comments made by their employees in the workplace.

advo would recommend that the key to manage this major sporting event and ensuring minimal disruption is clear communication and a consistent approach.

If you have any questions about this or wish to discuss any other matter, please don’t hesitate to contact your dedicated HR consultant who will always be happy to provide you with more guidance and help.