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Flexible Working and the World Cup

Posted on June 06, 2014

6 June 2014: World cup fever will officially grip the nation from Thursday 12th June 2014 when Brazil kicks off against Croatia at 9pm. Many fixtures appear to be outside UK normal working hours which will help avoid staff sloping off early to watch matches.


ACAS has issued guidance to help employers prepare for potential workplace issues that could arise over the World Cup period and advises businesses to have policies in place that cover time-off requests, sickness absence, website use during working hours or watching TV during popular sporting events.


They suggest considering having a more flexible working day, when employees may come in a little later or finish sooner, or swapping shifts. ACAS emphasise that it is important to be fair and consistent with all staff; and not just with respect to England games. Any flexible working should be approved before the event.


Flexible Working:

Meanwhile new Flexible Working Regulations will change the right to flexible working from the 30 June 2014 for requests made on or after that date.


No longer will the right be limited to parents of children under 17 (18 if the child is disabled) or to carers of adults. The right to request flexible working will be open to anyone with 26 weeks or more continuous employment.


As before, only one written request can be made every year and the employer needs to deal with the request within three months. The employer can still refuse on the following grounds:

  • Burden of additional costs
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • Inability to reorganise work amongst other staff
  • Inability to recruit additional staff
  • Detrimental impact on quality
  • Detrimental impact on performance
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
  • Planned structural changes


A tribunal can normally only consider whether the procedure was properly followed. The maximum compensation for a breach is eight weeks’ pay (currently capped at £464 gross pw).


Employees whose teams are still in the World Cup after the 30th June might make a flexible working request  during the football bonanza, but more likely any requests will be informal.


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Posted in: ACAS


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