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Advice for businesses on tackling World Cup ‘sickies’

TACKLING SICKIES Howarths managing director Gavin Howarth has advised employers to be flexible when England play in the World Cup.

TACKLING SICKIES Howarths managing director Gavin Howarth has advised employers to be flexible when England play in the World Cup.

It is a mystery illness that strikes every four years and could cost the economy up to £4bn.

‘World Cup fever’ could see millions of football fans taking leave or throwing a sickie to watch the matches.

Because of the time difference, most games start between 5pm and 11pm.

However, when England played a crunch match against Algeria during the last World Cup, absences jumped by 42 per cent despite the game having a 7.30pm kick off.

Thousands called in sick to watch two afternoon games and get ready for the England fixture.

Howarths managing director Gavin Howarth urged bosses to review their sickness and disciplinary procedures.

“Communication with staff is key and discussions about the rules and regulations should be held prior to any big games coming up,” he said.

“To make sure low levels of absences are maintained, a method that has proved successful is the return-to-work interview.”

Mr Howarth said there were a number of ways employers could tackle the issue of staff wanting to watch England’s matches.

He said: “It is all about being more flexible and working with them.

“If England reach the semi-finals and the match is on late afternoon, employers could look at having the match on in the boardroom or changing lunch hours.”

However, Mr Howarth maintained that sickness policies should stay firmly in place.

“If any unauthorised absence, lateness, or pattern of absence occur, the employer may look at invoking formal procedures,” he said.

 

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