Football’s coming home, employees are staying home?

Written by Martha Mitchell
8 July, 2021
Football's coming home, employees are staying home?

After a remarkable win from England in the semi-finals of the European Championships last night, we can only predict the feeling of the nation as we step into the final this Sunday, 11 July. However, we understand that this following Monday can be daunting for employers, with several questions they might have on their mind from What do I do if my staff call in sick? To: What do I do if my staff turn up still drunk?

What do I do if I think my employee is still drunk?

This Sunday’s match starts at 8 pm, with the potential of a later finish than a usual 90-minute match due to possible extra time and penalties. The match has a projection of finishing as late as 11 pm. This means that if your employee has to start work at 7:30 am, but doesn’t stop drinking until midnight, they would be deemed as unfit to drive to work the next morning.

It takes approximately just under one hour for each unit of alcohol to leave your body according to Healthline.com and with an average of 3 units per pint of lager and a standard glass of wine at 2.1 units. This calculates that if you were to drink 4 pints of lager it would take around 10.5 – 12 hours for the alcohol to leave your system.

This should be regarded as a serious matter. You should be clear to your staff at the outset of the tournament that you will be monitoring absences and that absence on relevant match days may be regarded with suspicion. Where an employee is intoxicated or hungover to the extent that they cannot work, you can send them home from work.  Speak to us to determine any implications on their pay.

Employee absences

If the employee has an otherwise clean absence record, it would be worth considering carefully how absence for one day following the England game should best be managed. For example, it may be in the best interests of staff morale to deal with any such incident of absence in an informal manner and meet with the employee to reiterate the high standards of attendance expected of them. For an absence of 7 days or less, an employee is not required to provide a Fit Note from their GP, providing evidence of their illness, and can instead self-certify the reason for absence.

Whilst you may have a reasonable suspicion that an employee who calls in sick the day after a once in a generation event like England reaching a major final is perhaps being untruthful, and could initiate the alcohol policy in the employee handbook, it is worth asking whether this is proportionate, especially given the year many people have had with Covid-19. Instead, you might wish to think about offering some of the incentives below as a means of encouraging staff to attend work and boost morale.

It is also important to be consistent in how you treat employees who call in sick on Monday morning in order to avoid treating some with greater suspicion than others. For example, you should not assume that a woman who calls in sick is genuinely ill, whilst, depending on the outcome,  their male colleague has the football buzz or blues. Instead, if you are concerned about your employee’s absence, you should meet with them and reiterate your standards.

Absence Management Policy

The situation could differ where an employee has a history of absence following Euros football matches. In this case, if their absences have exceeded the number allowed in your Absence Management Policy, you should proceed with an Absence Management Meeting in order to ascertain the true nature of the employee’s absence. Where you have a reasonable suspicion that an employee has been consistently untruthful when giving the reason for their absence, you should follow the disciplinary procedure and obtain further advice on how to proceed.

Incentives to avoid staff absences

England reaching the semi-finals, never mind getting to the Euro’s final is a momentous occasion for any football fan and we understand the importance of viewing the game on Sunday. For employers, this is a time to boost staff morale and come together after 16 months of a global pandemic.

This is a great opportunity for employers to give a discretionary incentive to staff to avoid sick days on Monday. This could be done by; offering a free breakfast sandwich on Monday morning or allowing staff to come in an hour later than their usual start time. By allowing some leniency with your staff it allows you to show trust in your employees.

Tax-deductible employee incentives

Did you know that the trivial benefits exemption allows employers to provide employees with low-cost benefits free of Tax and National Insurance and any reporting obligations?

For more information on the tax-deductible incentives visit Key Accountancy’s blog here.

Employment Law Solutions can help. We are an employment law service offering employment law advice for employers.

With a wealth of knowledge in curing HR headaches for employers across the UK, Employment Law Solutions can offer comprehensive, stress-free, and pragmatic advice on employment law, including restrictive covenants, post-termination restrictions, and furlough. We offer 24/7, 365 guidance with a mission to help you get on with doing what you do best – running your business. Protecting your business will always be our main priority.

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