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The Rugby World Cup 2015 begins this week, with the first match (England v Fiji) kicking off at 8:00pm on Friday. The final will take place at Twickenham on Saturday, 31 October. Employers are advised to consider the issues that can arise due to major sporting events, if they have not done so recently, and ensure they have the necessary policies in place to deal with them.
Catering to employees who wish to watch certain matches is an opportunity to boost staff morale and motivation, but you are not obliged to do so. You should ensure that any such arrangements are equally beneficial for staff who support teams other than England and do not have a negative impact on staff who are not rugby fans. The fixtures includes some weekday afternoon kick-offs.
You should ensure that staff understand your policy regarding last-minute requests for annual leave and what disciplinary action will be taken in the event of unauthorised absences or if employees are incapacitated because of too little sleep or too much alcohol. Holding back-to-work interviews when employees have been off sick not only deters malingering, but can also help identify any action that can be taken to improve their working conditions.
Matches will also be available online, so ensure your staff are aware of your policy on Internet use. If you are considering relaxing your usual rules for the tournament, make sure you have the necessary bandwidth to do so without this affecting system performance. It is also worth reminding staff of your policy on use of social media sites. If you are monitoring Internet usage, you are required by law to make this clear to all employees.
Staff should also be aware that any racist or other discriminatory conduct or comments will not be tolerated.
ACAS provide guidance for employers on major sporting events.