Rugby World Cup: issues for employers

The 2011 Rugby World Cup kicks off in New Zealand at the end of this week and, while it’s unlikely to cause employers issues to the same degree as football’s FIFA World Cup, they may still need to set out a clear policy on the tournament.

Although most of the matches for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland fall at the weekend, employers may experience problems with absenteeism or productivity during the matches that do fall on weekdays, or with staff who work on weekends.

Due to the time difference, the matches will be shown early in the morning UK time, with most starting at 7am or 9.30am.

Susie Munro, employment law editor at XpertHR, advises that employers make sure they set out a clear policy on the Rugby World Cup.

Munro explains: “Employers can try to minimise disruption and unauthorised absence by acknowledging that some employees will want to follow the World Cup, including some matches that will take place during working hours. By having a clear policy on what is and isn’t acceptable, and perhaps agreeing to flexible working hours on the few days when matches will be taking place during work time, employers could avoid the need for disciplinary action.”

And with the Olympics taking place in London in 2012, employers have already been urged to set out their procedures for the games so that both workers and the business can prepare.

Further information on employment issues caused by the Rugby World Cup and resources on putting together a policy for sporting events can be found on XpertHR.

Key Rugby World Cup 2011 dates

Saturday 10 September, 2am Scotland v Romania
Saturday 10 September 9.30am England v Argentina
Sunday 11 September 7.00am Ireland v USA
Sunday 11 September 9.30am Wales v South Africa
Wednesday 14 September 8.30am Scotland v Georgia
Saturday 17 September 9.30am Ireland v Australia
Sunday 18 September 7.00am England v Georgia
Sunday 18 September 4.30am Wales v Samoa
Saturday 24 September 7.00am England v Romania
Sunday 25 September 6.00am Ireland v Russia
Sunday 25 September 8.30am Scotland v Argentina
Monday 26 September 7.30 Wales v Namibia
Saturday 1 October 8.30am England v Scotland
Sunday 2 October 8.3am Ireland v Italy
Sunday 2 October 6am Wales v Fiji
Saturday 8/Sunday 9 October
Quarter finals
Saturday 15/Sunday 16 October 9am Semi finals
Friday 21 October 8.30am Third place play-off
Sunday 23 October 8.30am Final
The full match schedule for all 20 participating nations is available here.

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