The wait is over – the World Cup is finally here.
World-cup fever – an abnormal desire to watch a considerable number of football games in a short period of time, observed once every four years, usually accompanied by collecting panini-stickers, drinking beer with friends, endless debates about tight offside calls, penalty heartache, and the immense joy experienced when the team you side with wins. [ok, we made that up 🙂 ]
With passion running high, there are a number of issues that employers should be aware of.
[1.] The workplace policies
With a number of games scheduled at 1100, 1400 and 1700, employers must be mindful that certain conduct could already be regulated through the policies that are already in place. The ones which could be particularly relevant during this period are (i) The Leave and Holidays Policy; (ii) the Sickness reporting Policy; (iii) the use of Internet at Work Policy and (iv) the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policy.
We recommend that you draw attention to these policies and remind your personnel of what you expect of them during the World Cup. If you are considering being a bit more flexible on the applicability of certain policies (for example holiday policies), it is crucial that that this is applied fairly. Keep in mind that you are dealing with people of different nationality, genders and sexual orientation.
There is considerable value in preparing a specific sporting events policy, which essentially notifies your employees of any amendments to accepted working practices during the relevant events and also sets out the framework required to discipline those who fail to comply.
Sporting events can be a great team building experience. Make sure that you no one feels left out. If you organise any event that coincides with the World Cup, encourage everyone to participate. Make sure that this is taking into account in your communication and plans.
. Banter & Harassment
“Harmless” banter can easily lead towards bullying and harassment. You should remind employees that even if they do not consider certain remarks to be inappropriate or offensive, others may interpret these to be so.
. Screening games at the workplace
Some employers may choose to allow employees to watch games at the workplace, or even put up screens specifically for these purposes. Make sure that managers keep an extra eye open to ensure that any inappropriate behaviour is immediately cut out so as to avoid matters escalating further. If employers allow alcohol to be consumed at the workplace during such events or if you organise after-work events, remind your employees that inappropriate behaviour during such events can lead to disciplinary action being taken.
During the World Cup, some employers may fear issues with productivity, as a result of (i) employees skiving off work to watch games (on their own devices, or whilst working from home), (ii) “pulling in a sickie” to be able to watch a football game, or to recover from over-celebration or (iii) coming to work hung-over.
Employers should set their expectations clearly to the employees. It has been proven that employees who know their employer will be carefully monitoring productivity are less likely to try to abuse the system.
Mariella graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in law in 2005. She completed a master’s degree in ‘European Private Law’ from the La Sapienza, University of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in Malta in 2006.
Mariella is a people person – and it is this attribute which has really characterised and shaped her career.
Over the years, she headed the legal departments of several corporate services firms. Due to her skillset, she was also entrusted with managing and overseeing operations and human resources, where she gained technical and practical experience in various corporate, commercial and employment matters.
Her practical hands-on experience and insight perfectly complement Mariella’s technical knowledge of employment law, thus placing her in an ideal position to understand and advise employers and employees alike on various matters that may arise at the workplace.
Mariella is passionate about employment law matters and provides her clients with the highest-quality legal service to achieve the best possible outcome and resolve any employment law related issues and concerns.
Bradley graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006. He advises clients on various corporate, commercial, employment and regulatory matters, with particular focus on company and financial services law.
He has assisted clients in various corporate and commercial matters by providing company law advice and assisting in the implementation of corporate finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and similar transactions.
Bradley has also advised and assisted investment funds, fund managers and other investment services providers, banks and financial institutions, on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the setting up, authorisation and ongoing conduct of their activities in Malta.
His practice also covers general employment law matters. Bradley’s experience in company and financial services law enables him to focus on various corporate and regulatory aspects of employment relationships. In particular, he advises organisations on the implementation of employee share option and participation schemes, the implications of business transfers on employment relationships, as well as relations with senior employees.
Karl graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006.
Karl has gained considerable expertise in technology law and regularly assists clients in relation to intellectual property issues, commercial contracts and ways to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy laws. Whilst such matters used to be only given incidental importance when dealing with employment matters, they are now widely acknowledged to be vital in all employment relationships.
He is also regularly engaged by C-level executives to assist in negotiating employment contracts and settlement agreements.
Karl advises across a multitude of industries including technology; marketing; adtech; financial services; gaming; esports; consumer products; and media and telecommunications.