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The 2022 FIFA World Cup - Employer Considerations

With England’s 6-2 victory over Iran this afternoon, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is underway for the Three Lions, which may present some challenges and questions for employers.

As with todays match, many kick-offs will be during core working hours, which means your business should watch out for a rise in unauthorised absence or holiday requests and should perhaps consider what you can do to make it a World Cup to remember for your employees.

It may be difficult for employers to manage the expectations and viewpoints of those who are interested in and not so enthused about the tournament, so here are our 5 top tips and things to consider:

1. Make Your Policy Clear

The choice of whether to allow employees unpaid time to watch matches, to show the games in your workplace, or to ask them to take annual leave is entirely yours. You should, however, make it clear to all employees what your stance is ahead of the games so there is no confusion or upset.

2. Plan For Annual Leave Requests & Have A Fair Procedure

The likelihood is that a good proportion of your employees will want to watch the games, so you should expect to have a higher amount of annual leave requests than usual, on both game days and those after big matches – especially following the England vs Wales tie next Tuesday. You should consider this and make contingency plans to cover the workload, and ensure you have a fair process for approving annual leave. If it’s first come first served, make sure to stick to this policy.

3. Remind Employees of Behaviour Standards

The competitive nature of a tournament like the World Cup might mean that tensions run high in the workplace when games are on, but this should not mean that standards of behaviour slip. Make it clear to your employees that racism, homophobia, sexism, and all other forms of harassment or bullying are not acceptable under any circumstances.

4. Be Prepared To Manage Sickness & Unauthorised Absence

When the biggest matches are on, expect to have an increase in employees calling in sick or simply not turning in for work. Our advice is to manage this as you would with any other sickness – complete your return-to-work interview and log it appropriately. Unless you have reason to believe that the absence is not genuine, you should not treat it as such, however if a pattern emerges it may require investigation.

5. Have Fun & Treat It As An Opportunity

Whether England are knocked out at the group stage or progress to the final, treat the tournament as an opportunity to engage your employees and foster positive working relationships. Perhaps organising a social event to watch a game together after work or running a sweepstake could be a good way to bring people together, even for those who aren’t particularly interested in the event.

If you have any questions regarding employee management during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, please get in touch with us.


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