Employers claim workers are taking time off to watch the World Cup

The Great British Bunk! Employers claim workers are taking time off to watch the World Cup

  • Workers throw “sickies” around at record speed to watch World Cup games
  • A law firm says it has seen a 250 percent increase in requests from bosses
  • YouGov survey finds 11 million employees could take a day off during the year competition

Soccer-mad workers have thrown record numbers of sickies at each other so they can watch World Cup games, employers claim.

Businesses are flocking to legal counsel amid concerns about employees taking unauthorized days off.

A law firm says it has had a 250 percent rise in inquiries from bosses about its legal position when they suspect employees are fleeing.

Clough & Willis Solicitors’ Chris Macwilliam said there had been a spike in calls following England’s 6-2 win over Iran on Monday.

A YouGov poll found 11 million workers could be having a bad day during the World Cup in Qatar.

Mr. Macwilliam, whose company employs at Bury and Bolton, Grtr. Manchester said he didn’t want to be a “spoilsport” and hoped England would “bring it home”.

However, he added that companies across all sectors face “massive challenges” and unauthorized absences are a “real problem” that can impact their bottom line.

He said: “Businesses in all sectors face enormous challenges, so maintaining good productivity is vital.

“Nobody wants to be a spoilsport, but losing days through unauthorized absence is a real problem that can affect the bottom line.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer-mad workers have been throwing “sickies” at record rates so they can watch World Cup games, according to a YouGov poll that found 11 million workers could take a day off during the World Cup in Qatar

“We all want England to bring it home but there are some companies out there who are concerned England’s success could cost them financially.

“Broadly speaking, our advice to employers is that false health insurance claims (if proven) can constitute gross misconduct so they should be open with their teams as good communication is vital.

“If it’s feasible, it could also be worthwhile for companies to consider some kind of flexible work structure for the days that England are playing.

“Football is supposed to bring us together and we need that now more than ever.”

And Andrew Knorpel, of law firm Richard Nelson LLP, previously warned staff they could be fired if they don’t warn bosses they’ve stopped working to watch games.

He said: “With England coming naggingly close to winning the European Championship last year, the anticipation for next week’s World Cup will only grow.

“Due to the time difference, many games take place during working hours.

“While many England fans may be concerned about missing the team’s first group stage game, we would encourage them to have an open discussion with their employers about their working arrangements for the day.”

“Employees should consider taking annual leave rather than taking sick leave.

“If an employer believes that their employee has called in sick and it is not genuine, they can investigate the case and take disciplinary action for unauthorized absence.”


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