Businesses have been warned to expect a surge in employee absence rates during the Rugby World Cup.
A Manchester-based employment law consultancy says it has been “inundated” with calls to its advice service from employers who have seen a sharp rise in the level of employee absenteeism following the start of the sporting tournament, which kicked off at the end of last week.
Over the opening weekend, Peninsula received 692 calls from employers who wanted to discuss their rights regarding employee absenteeism and how they could prevent this from re-occurring over the duration of the Rugby World Cup.
Alan Price, employment law director of Peninsula, said there is “no avoiding” the Rugby World Cup, given its presence across all forms of media.
He said: “Large scale sporting event such as this regularly cause havoc for employers, as sports fanatic members of staff flock to watch the event in any way possible. Unfortunately, this often leads to employees calling in sick, forgoing their obligations to their place of work.”
Price said that “generally” he advises employers that “prevention is the best tactic” when it comes to reducing employee absenteeism during major sporting events, by ensuring that they have implemented an up-to-date policy regarding expected employee conduct and behaviour.
But he added: “Despite your best intentions and efforts to deter absence, sometimes even the best laid plans can fall a-rye and employers face an unwelcomed increase in sickness absences.
“The fact that we have received nearly 700 calls from employers during the opening weekend of the Rugby World Cup is quite alarming, particularly as this event is due to run for nearly two months. It is rather nerve wracking for employers, as this could be something that could continue to escalate.”