As the 2010 World Cup draws near, a leading Aberdeen lawyer is on target to make sure businesses don’t suffer when football fever strikes.
It is estimated that the 2006 World Cup cost UK businesses around £100 million due to absenteeism and other disruption, and it has been reported that the cost of the 2010 World Cup to the South African economy is likely to be in the region of R750 million.
A recent survey also suggested that two in five workers have indicated they plan to watch games on the internet during office hours.
In a bid to help employers find the best team tactics to ensure there are no red cards or penalties, Lili Hunter Consulting Ltd has come up with a new internet based document service which offers contracts, documents and policies to employers at a fixed one-off fee at the click of a button. The service, called Dox in a Box, is currently offering a “World Cup Policy”, to help employers deal with the workplace issues that may arise when the football kicks off.
All profits from the sale of this policy, costing £25, will go to Lili Hunter’s charity of choice, Wildhearts in Action.
A well known face in the Aberdeen legal world, Lili launched Lili Hunter Consulting Limited just last year. It offers a solution-focused blend of services to deliver mediation, HR and employment law to businesses of all sizes. Towards the end of 2009, she announced the incorporation of her own law firm – Lili Hunter Legal Limited.
In recognition of the innovative solutions offered, the company has recently been announced as a finalist in the Promising New Business category at the Grampian Business Awards for Enterprise 2010.
Lili said: “There is very little time difference between the UK and South Africa and kick offs are expected to be at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm so it is likely that some companies will experience requests for time off or increased absenteeism.
“It is crucial that employers ensure they are prepared – planning now could avoid an own goal before the final whistle.”
“Instead of just advising that companies develop a policy, we thought we’d help by developing a basic policy as a starting point and supporting our charity at the same time.”
Lili says that issues employers need to consider include:
- Lost Productivity – Does your internet policy cover misuse of computers, lost productivity and wasting company time watching football matches without permission?
- Time off – How do you deal with a lot of staff asking for time off at the same time to watch the same match? This needs to be decided fairly and cannot show preference to football fans over staff requesting holidays during this time.
- Flexibility – Some employers may decide to allow flexibility of working hours to ensure work gets done whilst allowing time off for matches. However, there are discrimination dangers here too if employees have previously been refused other flexible working requests in the past.
- Race discrimination – Those supporting other countries will have to be given the same due consideration when their teams are playing. The employer will have to ensure that racial tension doesn’t arise out of disagreements to do with teams, for example are team colours is allowed in the workplace? Discrimination law requires employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment so issuing a reminder and clear expectations of dignity at work may be a good idea.
- Alcohol – This can cause problems with staff either failing to turn up to work the next day or simply being ineffective, or worse unsafe. If staff are driving or operating machinery they may still be over the legal alcohol limit the next day or people may drink more than usual. It may be worth reminding employees the importance of being safe to drive and work the morning after.
Lili Hunter Consulting and Lili Hunter Legal are located at 499-501 Union Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6DB. For further information on Dox in a Box or to buy the World Cup Policy, visit www.lilihunter.com and click on Dox in a Box. Alternatively, call (01224) 228100.