Summer Of Sport

2016 – A Summer of Vastly Entertaining Sporting Events

by Jim Gilhooley of Morlan Gil HR

This has been a summer of vastly entertaining sporting events with Euro 2016, Wimbledon, Test Match Cricket, the Olympics and, soon, the Paralympics. These tend to generate a great deal of interest and desire to watch. However, some of these events take place in work time which can create problems for employers, particularly if the number of “sickies” increase. What is the best way to handle this?

As always the best way is to recognise the situation and, where possible, manage positively. Communication and flexibility are the key.

  1. The needs of the business and the customer must always take precedence.
  2. Recognise that some staff may wish to watch some short events e.g. football matches, particular events.
  3. This can only apply to exceptional, not annual, events.

In situations where these three can be reconciled effectively, then it is win/win for employee and employer and can be extremely motivational. Reasonable time can be allowed on a flexible basis but must be made up. The employer can even provide the TV equipment and some (non-alcohol) refreshments.

If the employee wants to watch for a longer period, then they should take the day as a holiday.

If an individual takes a sick day and you expect that this coincides with a sporting or another event, this should be treated as any other sick absence under the employer’s Sick Absence policy i.e. conduct a Return to Work interview, ask for completed Self-Certification Form and advise the individual that it will be recorded on their record. Also, check their Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media pages – it is amazing what people post there when they are off work! If there is any evidence that they are not genuinely sick, then you can consider disciplinary action.

However, as above, it is much better to manage the situation positively and in advance.