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It’s less than one month until the Rugby World Cup kicks-off on 20th September. This will be an incredible 6 weeks for rugby fans (not so much for the die-hard football fans out there) to see the home nations battle it out against some world class teams and see who will come out on top.

We think it will be interesting to see how Wales fair in the World Cup after securing the 2019 Grand Slam and gaining the number 1 world ranking after beating England in their warm up match (17 August 2019). 

The World Cup is being held in Japan, meaning there will be quite a big time difference. Many matches kick off at 8am or 11am GMT, both on the weekend and weekdays, with the final being held on Saturday 2nd November 2019, meaning there may be a few sore heads in work come Monday 4th November.

These mid-morning games mean there will be a clash for rugby fans who will be at work on those days. Therefore, it is important that you, the employer, are prepared for the Rugby World Cup and are aware of the work-related issues which could crop-up during the tournament.


How The Rugby World Cup May Affect Your Business:

The World Cup may bring about a number of work-related issues for you and your employees, the most common type of work-related issues being:

  • Sickness absence
  • Requests for annual leave
  • Website usage during working hours


  1. Sickness Absence

During the World Cup, it would be wise to monitor employee absence and any patterns which may form. For example, any high levels of sickness, late attendance or lower levels of performance at work which could be as a result of match fixtures or post event celebrations.

It’s good practice to remind employees of the company’s sickness absence policy and to remind staff that the policy will continue to apply during the tournament and the consequences which employees could be faced with if the policy is not followed. You should ensure that they implement the policy fairly and consistently.


  1. Annual Leave

Employees may wish to book annual leave for some matches. Therefore, you should remind employees of your annual leave policy, as this will inform employees how to correctly book time off. You may be more flexible with granting time off during this time. However, you may want to remind employee’s that if there is already a number of employees off at that time, then the company will be unable to grant leave.

It may be best during this time to adopt a ‘first come first served’ approach in order to relieve any issues which could occur when refusing one employee’s leave and allowing another’s. Leave requests should be considered fairly.


  1. Flexible Working

During the tournament many of the games will kick-off at either 8am or 11am. An option to consider may be to allow for flexible working during the event. You may be able to put measures in place to allow staff to start later and finish later. However, this may not work for every business.

Instead, you may want to think about allowing staff to listen to the radio, watch the TV, or take breaks during event times.


  1. IT, Mobile Phone and Social Media Policies

You should remind all staff members of the IT, social media and mobile phone policies you have in place. This should then act as a preventative measure and remind employees that their internet use is being monitored, as well as their mobile phone use during their working hours.

You should be aware that if you intend to monitor internet usage then, under the data protection regulations, you must make it clear that all employees’ internet usage will be monitored. Therefore, it may be a good idea to review your policies before the 20th September.


  1. Drinking or Being Under the Influence at Work

Often people enjoy going to the pub and having a drink or two whilst watching the games, which may lead to a few sore heads come the following morning. However, employees should be reminded of the alcohol policy and that it is unacceptable to attend work under the influence of alcohol or to be caught drinking at work. 


  1. Discrimination

Be careful of workplace ‘banter’. Sometimes friendly rivalry between colleagues can be good for staff morale however; some colleagues can end up taking it that one step too far. To minimise the potential of any grievance or discrimination claims being brought, you should remind all employees of any such behaviour which will not be accepted.


  1. Most Importantly Enjoy the Rugby World Cup…

You can use the World Cup as an opportunity to boost staff morale. You may wish to do so by introducing a sweepstake. Alternatively, you may want to consider bringing a TV into work or allowing employees to watch the match in the building with an agreement that they work the time back.


Want to Discuss This in More Detail?

If you’d like to discuss your policies, how events affect your business, or any other form of employment query, our friendly and knowledgeable employment solicitors can help. Get in touch to learn more today.  

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