Football Is Coming… To Work? Top Tips For Employers For The Euros 2024

Herrington Carmichael


Herrington Carmichael is a full-service law firm offering legal advice to UK and international businesses. We work with corporate entities of all sizes from large PLCs through to start-up businesses.
The Euros have been a significant talking point in recent months, and the first game kicked off on Friday 14th June with hosts Germany taking on Scotland.
Germany Employment and HR
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The Euros have been a significant talking point in recent months, and the first game kicked off on Friday 14th June with hosts Germany taking on Scotland.

Football fans across Europe and beyond are eagerly anticipating the tournament. With matches scheduled at various times throughout the day, including working hours, employers may face challenges managing staff attendance and productivity. In readiness for the Women's World Cup back in 2023, ACAS published some top tips to help employers prepare for potential issues that could arise. This guidance is relevant to the Euros and confirms that employers must plan ahead and make the most of this large sporting event while also managing any disruption caused.

In essence, the guidance encouraged employers to consider a degree of flexibility over the football period. The Chief Executive of ACAS has stated that:

"Staff should avoid getting a red card for unreasonable demands or behaviours in the workplace during this period.

Many businesses need to maintain a certain staffing level in order to survive. Employers should have a set of simple workplace agreements in place before kick-off to help ensure their businesses remain productive whilst keeping staff on side too.

Our top tips can help managers get the best from their team players, arrange appropriate substitutions if necessary and avoid unnecessary penalties or unplanned sendings-off".

Puns aside, there are numerous steps which employers could consider taking to help manage this period and keep staff morale and motivation high. These could include:

  1. Allowing for a greater degree of flexibility with time off and holiday requests. This could include allowing staff to alter working hours or finish early so they may watch the early evening matches. This could help accommodate fans without disrupting operations significantly.
  2. If operational needs allow, employers could show the matches within their premises so that staff can watch during their break times or keep track of the game periodically.
  3. Remember, not everyone is a football fan. This may have benefits, as an employer may consider allowing staff to swap shifts or cover one another. However, it may also cause issues, as not everyone agrees with such steps. Employers may consider a similar approach for other major sporting or national events to ensure fairness and inclusivity.
  4. Employers may also consider flexibility in using social media and devices in the workplace to stream and follow the matches. Consideration may need to be given to whether this will impact productivity or whether the company's broadband limits can withstand this.

Employers have the choice of what steps to take. However, inevitably, employers may still face difficulty with employees who do not wish to follow the rules set out, so employers may want to remind employees that sickness absence and attendance policies will continue to apply. Employers can also warn employees about unauthorised absences, such as calling in sick after a game due to a hangover.

Employers must be aware of potential discrimination issues that could arise. They should ensure that staff are made aware that hostile or racist remarks about a particular country will not be tolerated.

Employers should also remind employees of their continuing responsibilities outside of the workplace. In the critical case of Post Office v Liddiard, the Court of Appeal accepted that an employee was fairly dismissed after his involvement in football hooliganism during the World Cup in 1998 brought his employer into disrepute.


Employers are not generally obligated to make concessions or offer flexibility regarding the Euros. However, such measures could help boost morale and maintain attendance and productivity. Workplace events related to the Euros should be optional, and workers should not be disadvantaged if they do not want to take part.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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