Employers Guide to Euro 2016

The 2016 UEFA football European championships – Euro 2016 – start on 10 June, with 51 matches due to be played in France over the course of a month. With some matches taking place during or close to many employees’ normal working hours, employers need to plan ahead to minimise potential disruption.

This might be a familiar problem for employers in England. However, with Euro 2016 being Northern Ireland’s first major tournament since 1986 and Wales’ first since 1958, employers in those countries may experience an increase in employee interest in international football. Scotland failed to qualify.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland are guaranteed three games each at the group stage. The top two from each group qualify for the knock-out stage, plus the four third-placed teams with the best record in the group stage.

England and Wales have been drawn together in the same group. The two countries face each other on Thursday 16 June at 2.00pm, scheduling that is sure to provide a headache for many employers.


  1. Deal fairly with competing requests for time off

Employers may have to deal with an increase in holiday requests from employees who want time off to watch matches.

While many requests will be for half a day only to watch a particular match, others will be for a few days for the employee to travel to France to support his or her team.

It may not be possible to accommodate all requests but employers should deal with requests fairly and consistently.

By setting out in advance how annual leave requests will be dealt with, employers can manage employees’ expectations.

Where holiday requests cannot be granted, it may be possible to be flexible around working hours.


  1. Take steps to control sickness absence

Employees who know their employer will be monitoring sickness absence are less likely to “pull a sickie” to be able to watch a match (or recover from over-celebration (or commiseration) from the night before).

Employers can help to control short-term sickness absence by making their sickness absence policy clear and addressing the situation if they suspect that an employee’s sickness is not genuine.

  1. Take advantage of the tournament to boost morale

Employers can use football tournaments like the Euro 2016 to boost morale among staff by screening key matches in the workplace and allowing employees to watch games together during working hours if operational requirements permit.

Employees who take advantage of the opportunity to take a break from work and watch a match can be required to make up lost time.

Employers can remind employees of their rules on alcohol consumption at work and conduct generally.


  1. Avoid problems caused by excessive time-wasting

During the European Championships, some employers may experience a reduction in productivity due to employees:

  • watching matches on their work desktops and laptops (which may also cause problems with the employer’s network);
  • watching matches on their own devices; and
  • talking about the football.
  • While some excitement and wanting to keep up with the latest developments is inevitable, employers can take action to deal with excessive time-wasting and misuse of their systems.

Article courtesy of Personnel Today