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Rebecca Peterson of Wansbroughs

Is your business ready for the World Cup fever?

The 2014 FIFA World Cup football tournament will be held in Brazil between 12 June 2014 and 13 July 2014. Brazil is four hours behind British Summer Time and so most of the matches are scheduled to kick off in the late afternoon (5pm UK time) or evening (between 8pm and 11pm UK time).

Not all your employees will be interested in the tournament, but have you thought about how your business is going to deal with employment related issues that may arise during the four week tournament? For example:

Requests for time off and/or flexible working

You may receive an increase in the number of requests from your employees for time off during the four week tournament.

You should ensure that all requests for time off and/or to work flexibly are treated fairly. For example, you should be consistent when authorising annual leave requests, unpaid leave and/or flexible working.

If you grant your English national employees annual leave, unpaid leave and/or flexible working to support their national team then you must also treat your non English national employees the same when dealing with their requests.

Likewise, if you grant your male employees annual leave, unpaid leave and/or flexible working to support their national team you must treat the requests made by your female employees the same.

Lateness and absenteeism

Given that the majority of the matches are in the evening you will need to make sure you are prepared for dealing with a potential increase in number of one-off employee sickness absences the following day.

You should ensure that your sickness absence procedures are in place so that you can monitor your employees absences during the tournament.

Any unauthorised absences should be dealt with in the usual way under your disciplinary procedure.

Internet and social media use

It is more than likely that your employees are going to want to keep up to date with tournament on the internet and/or via social media.

You should have an internet and social media policy setting out what is and is not appropriate use by your employees in the workplace.

Any breaches of the policy should be dealt with under your disciplinary procedure.


Your employees may engage in national banter, but be aware of this national banter crossing over the boundaries into race discrimination.

You should have an equal opportunities policy and/or an anti-harassment and bullying policy. You may want to remind your employees that any harassment and bullying related to an employee’s nationality, ie derogatory and racist remarks will not be tolerated and will be dealt with under your disciplinary procedure.

The Word Cup fever should not be regarded by your business as a negative. You should embrace this opportunity to boost staff morale and consequently maximise your employees engagement and productively in your business.

Rebecca Peterson is an employment law specialist at Wansbroughs in Devizes. Contact her on 01380 733300 or at