As Euro 2020 approaches its last 16 games, the TUC is today (Friday) publishing advice for bosses whose staff want to watch games during their normal working hours.
The TUC suggests that bosses:
· talk to their employees in advance about arrangements for key games
· arrange for their staff to watch the game somewhere on the company’s premises, if appropriate
· allow staff working from home to finish early to watch games
· allow staff to work flexibly and to come in early or later to finish their shifts
· be as flexible as possible with annual leave requests
Flexible working has real benefits for businesses and their workforces, says the TUC. Many workplaces already operate a system of flexitime, and the rise in remote working since the pandemic means many staff will be working from home.
Televised games kick off at various times, with some matches (like England vs. Germany and Wales vs. Denmark) starting at 5pm UK time. But it will not just be 9-5 workers who might want to clock off early. More than one in five UK employees (5.8 million people) work evenings and weekends, and many will want to watch the matches too.
TUC General Secretary, and England and Arsenal supporter, Frances O’Grady said: “Millions of workers around the UK will want to cheer on their national teams in Euro 2020 – especially after the tournament was postponed last year.
“Bosses should talk to their staff and try and let people who want to watch the games do so, either at work or at home – and then claim back their time afterwards.
“Whether it’s about major sporting events like Euro 2020, attending a medical appointment or picking up the kids from school, allowing people more flexibility in how and when they do their work makes them happier. It cuts absenteeism and raises productivity.
“So come on England!”
Wales TUC General Secretary, and Wales supporter, Shavanah Taj said: "We all know how important the Red Wall has been to Wales's recent successes, and, as the smallest nation left in the tournament, we need to make sure every supporter gets a chance to watch the game and cheer Wales to victory tomorrow.
"Flexibility shouldn't be something that works only for bosses. And it should be available to workers regardless of the sector they work in.
"Employers should have faith in the Welsh team and start planning for the rest of the tournament now. And they should use this as a chance to review outdated, inflexible work practices."
- TUC guidance is available at worksmart.org.uk/work-rights/discipline-and-policies/watching-sport-work
- Current rules on flexible working: Workers in the UK do not currently have the right to work flexibly – they only have a right to request flexible working. A person must be an employee in post for at least 26 weeks before they can make a request. Employers have very wide scope for refusing requests there is no right for employees to appeal, and they must wait 12 months before they are allowed to make a new request. Before the right to request was introduced in 2013, 74% of employees did not do any form of flexible working. Since the right to request was introduced, this has reduced only slightly to 70%. And only 13% of employees have flexi-time – the most common form of flexible working. This suggests that the right to request has made little difference. (Figures are from the Labour Force Survey.)
- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
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