The football World Cup in Brazil kicks off next month.  There will be total of 64 matches held during the tournament with England’s first match against Italy taking place on 14th June and the final being held on 13th July.  

As with any major sporting event, employees may want time off to watch the matches and even where the matches take place in the evening, as is the case this year, problems may arise for employers that operate outside of normal office hours.

This guide reviews a number of options to ensure that the operation of your business is protected and the morale of your team is enhanced during the World Cup Finals.

  1.  Dealing with multiple leave requests – Where a key match takes place during working hours, you are likely to receive multiple requests for holiday at the same time.  You should consider a fair method of managing this and communicate it in advance, such as on a first come, first served basis.

  2.  Screening matches at work – This can be a great way to build engagement with your team and avoid unauthorised absences arising.  Consideration needs to be given to staffing requirements and rules, such as whether alcohol consumption is permitted.

  3.  Be fun and creative – Organising a sweep stake or having dress down days for key matches is a great way to build team work and a sense of healthy rivalry.

  4.  Flexible working arrangements – Offering your staff the opportunity to leave work earlier, start work later or extend their lunch breaks for the duration of the event will provide your staff with the flexibility to see key matches. Provided that time is made up and operational requirements are covered, this option will again build morale and prevent unauthorised absences.

  5.  Handling cases of suspected misconduct – Unauthorised absence, persistent lateness and excessive alcohol consumption should be properly investigated and dealt with in accordance with your disciplinary policy.

  6.  Treating all your staff the same – Care should be taken to ensure that those staff who are not interested in the matches or who support a different national team are not treated less favourably.  For example, if staff were permitted time off to watch an England match, the same consideration should be given to other nationalities who may wish to support their national team.

   7.  Introducing a sporting events policy – this will ensure that the operation of your business is protected during events such as the World Cup by communicating expectations in advance.

Major sporting events such as the World Cup and Olympics can do wonders for the feel good factor, so harnessing this positivity in the workplace often makes good business sense.

For more information, contact Ramshaw HR @


By Bruce Ramshaw

Principal Consultant


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