The 2010 World Cup taking place in South Africa from 11 June will delight football fans but may prove to be a headache for employers.
Many employees are likely to request time off work to watch matches and others may claim they are "unwell" whilst in reality they are watching matches (or recovering from watching matches).
The challenge for employers during the World Cup season will be dealing with these issues in a way that does not disrupt or adversely affect their businesses, whilst at the same time seeking to avoid damaging workplace morale. Being prepared and having a strategy for dealing with issues such as unauthorised absence will be key to avoiding any problems which might arise. Clearly, employers can never prevent employees from taking unauthorised time off altogether but measures can be put in place to discourage them from doing so.
Communication and clarity will also be very important. Once a strategy has been decided for the World Cup period, it is important to communicate this to employees so that (if appropriate) they can make arrangements and ask for time off work in advance.