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Should employers allow employees to adjust working hours to watch the Women’s World Cup?

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Competitions such as the World Cup generate a great deal of public interest with many individuals keen to follow the matches as much as they can. With the event being held in Australia, time differences mean that most games will be played during the course of the working day here. 

If employers can offer employees the flexibility to watch games and adjust their hours of work accordingly or to take holiday at shorter notice than usual, this may well be welcomed by many employees.

Employers should, however, be mindful that other members of staff may be less interested and may seek flexibility on other occasions, therefore they should be mindful of the need to treat all staff fairly when allowing flexibility and perhaps avoiding claims of discrimination. 

Employers should also be mindful that they need to provide a safe working environment and should be conscious of this if organising events around games.

Can employees watch matches at work or on work devices?

Generally not unless they have permission to do so. Employees should remain mindful that unless an agreement to work flexibly or take time off has been reached with their employer, they remain subject to the normal requirements of their role.

If [employees watch matches] without permission it could be viewed as misconduct or even gross misconduct.

What are the benefits of adjusting working hours for employees to watch the Women’s World Cup?

  • Offering staff the opportunity to watch games together may help boost morale
  • It may offer a good social and team-building opportunity
  • Allowing staff time off to watch games is likely to increase productivity if they then make their time up at other times

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