Should you give staff time off for Euro 2016?

With Euro 2016 due to kick off shortly, many employees are looking forward to getting behind their team and watching them in their attempts to win the tournament.

Problem is, some matches are being played during the working week.

In an unusual move, conciliation service Acas, which provides free and impartial information and advice to employers, has launched a new guide to help businesses navigate their way through any potential issues that might arise during the tournament.

Acas has put forward the concept of flexible working hours for those that wish to take time off during the working day to watch the match to help lessen the impact of sickness absences and high numbers of staff requesting the same days off work.

The guide also discusses the use of social media at work during Euro 2016 and how to come to agreements with you employees on what is (and isn’t) acceptable during the matches.
Here’s a brief overview of how Acas believe employers can help keep their employees happy whilst maintaining productivity.

Working together
Before the start of the European Cup or any major sporting event it would be best to have agreements in place regarding such issues as time off, sickness absence or even watching TV during these events. By working together both employers and employees will understand the needs of each party.

Annual leave
Employers may wish to look at being more flexible when allowing employees leave during this period, with the understanding that this will be temporary arrangement. Employees should remember that special arrangements may not always be possible. The key is for both parties to try and come to an agreement.

Sickness absence
Organisations’ sickness policies will still apply during this time, and these policies should be operated fairly and consistently for all staff. Levels of attendance should be monitored during this period in accordance with the attendance policy, any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence could result in formal proceedings.

One option that may be agreeable would be to have a more flexible working day, when employees may come in a little later or finish sooner, and then agree when this time can be made up.
Employers may allow staff to swap shifts with the manager’s permission or allow staff to take a break during match times. Allowing staff to listen to the radio or watch the TV may be another possible option.

Use of social networking sites and websites
There may be an increase in the use of social networking sites or sporting websites covering the European Cup. Employers should have a clear policy regarding web use in the workplace and the policy should be cascaded to all employees.

Drinking or being under the influence at work
It is important to remember that anyone caught drinking at work or found to be 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.

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