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World cup fever: a nightmare for HR?


National flags are everywhere and Wayne Rooney’s broken metatarsal never seems to be out of the news – yes, World Cup fever strikes again.

But for HR practitioners the World Cup could be a nightmare scenario. In fact, the potential problems are such that the conciliation and arbitration service ACAS has published a list of FAQs on its website.

Issues addressed include giving time off to allow staff to watch England matches and the potential issue of racial discrimination towards staff from other countries who are following their home team.

Companies with ‘no alcohol’ policies are advised to consider providing viewing facilities to avoid potential requests to view matches in the pub, or to allow the trip to the pub but issue a reminder about the ‘no alcohol’ policy.

Absenteeism is also considered, although disciplinary action and sick pay will largely depend on contractual arrangements.

Although the guide considers the issue of sexual discrimination if companies assume that women are not going to want to watch the matches, it does not consider the issue of workplace harmony.

There may be members of staff who do not want to watch matches. If those who want to watch England play are allowed time off, it is only fair to offer some flexibility to those who are manning the office. Otherwise you could be storing up resentment for the future.

The ACAS World Cup FAQs are at: ACAS FAQs

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