Employers will not be able to avoid the fact that the biggest sporting event is now on – the Rugby World Cup. With England as its host, the opening match is taking place in Twickenham on 18th September 2015 and the tournament will last for a period of 6 weeks.

If you haven’t already done so, employers should be making sure it is communicating and planning to mitigate any disruption. Employers may have already noticed an increase in annual leave requests on account of the event and whilst the event could have an impact on staffing and productivity levels, if handled carefully, employers may be able to take advantage of high morale and improve levels of employee engagement.

Consider some of the following:

  • Allow flexible working during the tournament – for all staff, not just rugby fans (on match days, some may find it difficult travelling to and from work) – and ensure such arrangements are pre-approved;
  • Remind staff about the sickness absence policy and that unauthorised absence will be carefully monitored, with attendance to a return to work interview;
  • Encourage staff to take annual leave if they want to watch the rugby, with such requests not being guaranteed but granted fairly;
  • Remind staff of the ground rules for behaviour – for example, attending work whilst under the influence of alcohol is clearly unacceptable;
  • Set out clearly (or remind staff of) the expectations regarding internet use and the use of social media during working hours.

Managed well, employers will be able to gain some goodwill from their staff, but it is also an opportunity for everyone to be able to celebrate an international event if properly planned.

To check when and where the Rugby World Cup fixtures are taking place, click here.

We will be available to assist with these issues or any other employment law matters, even whilst the tournament is on!

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Updates: For employers: Disciplinary problems | For employees: Breach of contract | Holiday | Sickness |

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