World Cup staff absence management preparations are not under way

Employers are ill-prepared for the looming World Cup, with many admitting they have no plans in place to manage staff absence.

Nine in 10 firms have not developed a policy to manage employees who fail to show up for work as football fever hits the nation, according to a poll of 1,000 employers.

The survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that just 5% of organisations have drawn up a policy, while a further 5% are in the process of developing one.

Now the CIPD has drawn up a guide for employers suggesting different approaches that can help employees enjoy the matches that are important to them, without adversely affecting the needs of the business.

The World Cup and Absence Management guidance suggests flexible working hours, shift swaps, unpaid leave, and providing a special screen to show matches on work premises.

It also recommends that employers are made aware of disciplinary consequences for taking unauthorised time off work without good reason, or for not performing satisfactorily or misbehaving at work.

The CIPD suggests employers should encourage workers to use annual leave, particularly to discourage general absenteeism and poor performance caused by over-indulgence in alcohol.

CIPD adviser John McGurk described the survey findings as “alarming”.

He said: “Research suggests that when employers demonstrate they care about their staff and their interests outside of work, employees are more likely to go the extra mile for the organisation. Whatever individual organisations decide is right for their employees, guidance should be clear and communicated well.”

In March Personnel Today reported how supermarket chain Asda will loosen its rules on flexible working during the World Cup in June and July to reduce the number of ‘sickies’ being recorded, and to enable employees to take time off work to watch key matches.

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