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Euro 2012: advice to employers

Employees have asked should they set up facilities to allow employees to watch the Euro football games during Euro 2012. Employers have expressed that are happy to consider this, but worry that if they refuse, employees may chose to use company computers or laptops to watch games through BBC i-Player or ITV-player or take time off sick, which could cause network disruption. What are their options?

There is no obligation on the

employers part to set up screens to show matches and, in any case, it may well be disruptive to the business anyway.

If employers were to consider making such arrangements, there are a host of other considerations that they may well have to plan for. Firstly, they would need to ensure that they have a valid TV licence; further, they will need to identify other matches that should be made available, bearing in mind the diverse workforce, as they would have to treat all employees equally.

There may well be a risk of conflict between supporters of different nations; therefore they should set expected standards of behaviour before the tournament, enabling them to deal with any inappropriate behaviour accordingly.

As an alternative, employers may wish to consider a temporary flexible working arrangement by amending start and finish times, or allow staff to “bank” time by working extra hours to enable time to be taken at a later time to watch a match or consider annual leave. Employers may need to bear in mind, however, that this would also have to apply to staff who are not interested in watching any games.

Employers could instruct staff not to use their Internet to access facilities to watch the games and advise that any individual found to have disregarded this instruction would be potentially subject to disciplinary action. Alternatively, if possible, employers may close access to this facility for a period of time. In either case, employers will need to communicate to staff well in advance of your proposal.

Date added 23.03.12


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