Euro 2016: top tips for employers

rubber-duck-1390642_1920The 2016 UEFA European Championships are now underway (in case you hadn’t noticed!) and whilst this may not be of a great deal of interest to some (particularly if England can’t manage better than a draw), it can pose some issues for both employers and employees. Whilst the first round matches fell at the weekend, and therefore weren’t an issue, England’s second round match against Wales (currently top of the group) is at 2 pm on Thursday 16 June and their third round match against Slovakia is an evening kick off (with potential for the “morning after the night before”). Also, with this being Wales’ and Northern Ireland’s first major tournament for several years, employers there may be less familiar with having to deal with the issues that can bring. The remaining Group matches for England, Wales and N Ireland and the potential matches in the knock out stage of the tournament are set out at the end of this article.

Here are a number of “top tips” for dealing with the issues that can arise:

  1. Deal with requests for time off fairly and consistently
    Employers may have to deal with an increase in holiday requests from employees who want time off to watch matches, or even to travel to France to go to the games. It may not be possible to agree to all requests but these should be dealt with fairly and consistently. If you can’t grant holiday requests, consider being flexible around working hours. Requests for time off and flexibility around working hours by employees who are not following the tournament should also be considered fairly and consistently.
  2. Make it known that you will be monitoring sickness absence
    If your employees know that you will be monitoring sickness absence they are less likely to “pull a sickie” to watch a match, or to recover from over-celebration or drowning their sorrows from the night before. You should make your sickness absence policy clear and if you suspect that an employee’s sickness is not genuine you should address this with them.
  3. Remind employees of the rules on alcohol consumption and conduct generally
    Generally drinking at work or being under the influence of alcohol at work is a disciplinary offence, and employees should be reminded of this.
  4. Avoid problems caused by employees watching matches in work time
    There can be issues with employees watching matches on their work computers (which may also cause problems with the employer’s network); watching matches on their own devices; and also talking about the games. This may cause issues with getting on with work and loss of productivity, and disgruntlement among other employees who are not interested in the football. Employees should be reminded of the rules about using the employer’s systems for personal use and in work time. You can take action to deal with excessive time-wasting and misuse of your systems.
  5. Avoid discrimination
    Employees who are foreign nationals may want to follow their own team and any flexibility allowed to England, Wales and Northern Ireland fans should also be extended to them. Any inter-country rivalry should not be allowed to escalate into bullying or harassment and you will need to deal with this firmly if it occurs.
  6. 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 to watch a match can be required to make up the time.
  7. Consider having a sporting events policy
    With a summer of sport ahead, including the 2016 Olympics, it is worth considering setting out your expectations and rules in a sporting events policy. This can help avoid issues around misconduct, absenteeism and harassment.

Acas have also published some useful guidance on their website on how to deal with the workplace issues arising from Euro 2016.

If you need advice on any of the issues in the workplace arising from Euro 2016 or other major sporting events, please contact Helen Kay on or .

HMK Legal - straightforward affordable employment law advice

The remaining games are as follows:

Euro 2016 remaining Group games

England and Wales (Group B)
Thurs 16 June 2.00pm – England v Wales
Mon 20 June 8.00pm – Slovakia v England
Mon 20 June 8.00pm – Russia v Wales

Northern Ireland (Group C)
Thurs 16 June 5.00pm – Ukraine v N Ireland
Tues 21 June 5.00pm – N Ireland v Germany

UK nations’ possible Euro 2016 knockout games:

If England or Wales win their group:
Saturday 25 June 5.00pm – Last 16
Friday 1 July 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Wednesday 6 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

If England or Wales are group runners up:
Monday 27 June 8.00pm – Last 16
Sunday 3 July 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Thursday 7 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

If England or Wales are highly placed third:
Saturday 25 June 8.00pm – Last 16
Thursday 30 June 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Wednesday 6 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

OR

Sunday 26 June 5.00pm – Last 16
Saturday 2 July 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Thursday 7 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

If Northern Ireland win their group:
Sunday 26 June 5.00pm – Last 16
Saturday 2 July 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Thursday 7 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

If Northern Ireland are group runners up…
Saturday 25 June 2.00pm – Last 16
Thursday 30 June 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Wednesday 6 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

If Northern Ireland are highly placed third:
Saturday 25 June 5.00pm – Last 16
Friday 1 July 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Wednesday 6 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

OR
Sunday 26 June 2.00pm – Last 16
Sunday 3 July 8.00pm – Quarter-final
Thursday 7 July 8.00pm – Semi-final
Sunday 10 July 8.00pm – Final

Visit UEFA for full details. All times are BST.