HR · 15 June 2016

Euro 2016 absenteeism expected to jump for England vs Wales

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Absenteeism will rise when England play Wales on 16 June

Absenteeism amongst UK workers due to this summer’s European football championships in France is expected to spike on 16 June, as England play Wales at 2pm.

Small and micro business owners will have no doubt already braced themselves for a drop in productivity as a result of the competition, however the afternoon of 16 June could see levels of absenteeism amongst employees rise to entirely new heights.

The key group game, which kicks off in Lens in the middle of the working day, is expected to cost the UK economy as much as £269m as staff plant themselves in front of televisions rather than behind their desks.

The results of a recent poll of social media users conducted by HR consultancy Elas revealed the extent to which eager fans are planning unauthorised absences from work in order to watch certain games.

Asked “Would you pull a sickie to watch any of your team’s Euro 2016 matches?”, as many as 40 per cent of respondents to the poll on Twitter and Facebook admitted they would.

Of those that took the poll, Twitter users were more likely to pull a sickie than voters on Facebook, with 44 per cent stating they would, compared with 37 per cent on Facebook.

With absenteeism believed to cost British businesses as much as £13bn a year in total, small company owners could consider consider offering flexible working hours as a solution, while reminding staff about policies on absenteeism.

Elas’ head consultant Peter Mooney said that owners should be prepared to hear all manner of excuses from employees that fail to return to work after lunchtime on 16 June. “Some bosses will cut a deal with their staff allowing them to leave earlier, but only if they are willing to start work a little earlier another day.

“Staff might not think that an unauthorised couple of hours in the pub watching a Euro match is going to harm their company, but when you add up the cost to British business of tens of thousands or workers behaving in this way it suddenly looks a whole lot more serious,” added Mooney.

Identifying an increased likelihood of workers arriving at work hungover due to football matches, Mooney advised small business owners to remind staff of drugs and alcohol abuse policies where necessary.

“Productivity is likely to slip, as an employee who is hungover won’t perform to the level expected. If their work requires them to drive, or they work in manufacturing, they could potentially be putting themselves and others at risk,” he added.

“When the team wins, leverage the success” – read our exclusive interview with former England rugby coach, Clive Woodward. 

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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