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Football’s coming home, but is it coming to work on Monday?

July 09, 2021 | By: Victoria Owings

With England reaching the Euro 2020 finals marking their greatest success on the international stage for 55 years, thousands of people will be tuning in over the weekend to see the final. However, with coverage airing on a Sunday what, if any, contingency plans have you put in place to mitigate against staff absence on Monday morning?
Boris Johnson has gone so far as to suggest that those companies who are able to offer flexibility should let staff start work late or allow them to take to the day off should England succeed over Italy in the final on Sunday.  He is even ‘actively’ considering whether he can mark the day with a bank holiday.
So far, Covid legislation has been slackened this past Wednesday so that a pubs are able to extend their hours to allow for celebrations (or commiserations) to go beyond the allowed opening hours, as well as venues altering their opening times to go beyond Sunday trading hours.
How practical, or welcomed is this advice in the current climate, where companies are already struggling to get back to normality in the workplace?
What are an employers options?
Employers are able to use their discretion and allow annual leave requests, despite some falling outside the normal time frames. These would need to be on a first come first serve basis to avoid any suggestion of favouritism and employers also need to be mindful of setting any future precedents for other employees requesting time off in this manner for any other reason not related to sport. As well as the obvious taking into account of operational issues arising from staff shortages.
As opposed to booking of full days, employers could look to allow for later starts, as for a lot of industries, there may be a downturn of business during the course of the day.
In place of annual leave requests, employers can let workers take days off in lieu where time can be made up at a later date. However, this may not be practical for those who need to cover services, or work in a reactive environment. Employers need to be careful that they do not upset staff members by allowing different rules for different departments in these situations, and open and transparent dialogue will be key.
Another option open is to continue or to allow working from home arrangements for the day, helping those who have celebrated avoid the morning commute and giving them more time in bed. However clear expectations should be set.
A further added complication is the news that a lot of schools are preparing for later starts so there will be genuine childcare issues to be mindful of in these situations.
Ultimately if the company take a decision that normal working hours apply – and staff don’t attend or follow the absence reporting rules, then the ability to take formal action against them remains.
The best advise would be to deal with it head on, communicate expectations clearly and explain rationale and hope that staff are respectful of any operational constraints you face.
Where you can be flexible, it may prove to be a positive motivation for those who have struggled with a really hard couple of years.

About the Author
Victoria Owings
Victoria Owings
Victoria Owings, Author at Wirehouse Employer Services

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