An employers’ group has accused the union Amicus of advising people on how to take 'sickies' during the World Cup.
On its website, Amicus says it is "difficult to prove someone is not really sick", and offers a line of defence to workers who are caught out.
Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Business said that publishing such advice was "grossly unfair on all staff" and urged the union to withdraw its comments.
The Amicus website asks: "So you want to watch the World Cup, but you are meant to be at work when it's on. Can you play away or is the risk of permanent relegation from your job too high?"
It goes on to say that "it is quite difficult to prove that someone is not really sick if they have one day off; and most sick policies provide for the employee to self-certificate for the first day off".
The advice does warn that taking time off work without permission “can lead to dismissal for gross misconduct”. But it then argues that if the absence procedure of a company "does not make this clear", members "can argue that it is simply a form of misconduct which should be viewed in the light of your work record".
Amicus denied that it was encouraging dishonest sick leave.
"I'm afraid the reality is lots of people do take sickies, whether it's for the World Cup or not," a spokeswoman said.