Asda to allow unpaid leave for football fanatics

Supermarket chain Asda is giving its 150,000 UK employees the chance to take up to two weeks’ unpaid leave during the World Cup this summer.  

Called ‘German Jolly’ World Cup Leave, staff can take this ‘extra time’ whether they’re planning a trip to Germany to catch a few live games or simply want to enjoy the matches from the comfort of their own home or the local pub. 

Any Asda worker can ask for either a week or two weeks’ unpaid leave to be taken any time between Friday 9 June, when the World Cup kicks off and Sunday 9 July, when the final takes place in Berlin. 

Stores will also be running shift swapping schemes, allowing extended breaks and fielding requests for odd days off so colleagues are able to watch certain matches. Televisions for sale on the shop floor will also be tuned in to the World Cup.

Asda’s approach has meant that during previous tournaments, such as Euro 2004 and the last World Cup in 2002, the retailer saw no increase in absenteeism.

David Smith, people director at Asda, said: “With World Cup fever just around the corner, we wanted to give our colleagues the chance to go on a ‘German Jolly’ and enjoy what we all hope will be a tournament to remember. It’s just another of the ways we’re giving colleagues flexibility and we hope it’s a winning idea.”

Asda’s other flexible working practices include ‘IVF leave’ for those having fertility treatment, ‘Benidorm leave’ for older workers seeing time off to take a winter sun break and ‘school starter’ leave for parents wishing to accompany their children on their first day at school.

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