The World Cup and absence management: guidance for employers

by 18 May 2010

Employers are not prepared for the upcoming World Cup, with many admitting they have no plans in place to manage potential staff absence as football fever hits the country.

Nine in 10 firms in the UK have not developed a policy to manage employees who fail to show up for work, revealed a poll of 1,000 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The survey found that just 5 per cent of organisations have drawn up a policy, while a further 5 per cent are in the process of developing one.

The absence management challenge of the World Cup may even be more prevalent in Australia, as the country’s first game kicks off at 4am on a Monday night –leading to a potential high level of absenteeism on the Tuesday.

A guide for employers suggesting different approaches that can help employees enjoy the matches that are important to them, without adversely affecting the needs of the business, has been drawn up by the CIPD

The World Cup and Absence Management guidance suggests flexible working hours, shift swaps, unpaid leave, and providing a special screen to show matches on work premises.

It also recommends that employers are made aware of disciplinary consequences for taking unauthorised time off work without good reason, or for not performing satisfactorily or misbehaving at work.

The CIPD suggests employers should encourage workers to use annual leave, particularly to discourage general absenteeism and poor performance caused by over-indulgence in alcohol.

CIPD adviser John McGurk described the survey findings as “alarming”.

He said: “Research suggests that when employers demonstrate they care about their staff and their interests outside of work, employees are more likely to go the extra mile for the organisation. Whatever individual organisations decide is right for their employees, guidance should be clear and communicated well.”

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