22 September 2015

With the Rugby World Cup set to run until 31 October, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has set out advice for small business employers on how to make it a cause for celebration rather than a potential disciplinary minefield.

Several England games take place on Saturdays but of course, as the FPB reminds its members, many it not all the other teams in the tournament will have supporters working for them and fans of the All Blacks, Springboks and Japan will need to be given as much consideration as those from the home countries.

So if mid-week games could potentially cause staff absences or increased use of the internet at work, is the answer a strict code of discipline?

That is a possibility, the FPB notes, but its recommendation is that employers take advantage of interest in the tournament to encourage goodwill and team-building among their staff.

This could involve flexible working, whereby people could take time off to watch key games by starting earlier or finishing later.

"While you have no obligation to cater for your employees' sporting interests," the FPB suggests, "you could aid motivation by using an hour or two's time off to watch a sporting event as an incentive, perhaps based upon individual or group performance."

If the decision is taken to allow staff to watch the games at work, however, the Forum warns employers that they will need a TV licence, even if people are streaming live sporting fixtures on a company-owned computer.

They will also have to give some thought to those not interested in rugby who might quietly want to get on with their work.

So Come on England! Er, and of course, Wales, Fiji, Namibia, Samoa, Georgia….