25% of firms have policy for World Cup
Ireland's first three matches in the World Cup will occur just before or during working hours, but only 25 per cent of Irish companies have put in place formal policies to deal with the problem. This is according to a Deloitte and Touche survey.
However, 64 per cent of employees say they definitely intend watching matches that are broadcast during working hours. Of those employees hoping to watch the games live, 31 per cent intend to do so illicitly at work, by following matches on TV, the Internet or radio. Another 10 per cent of workers intend to call in sick.
Already industrial relations consultants are offering advice to clients on whether to offer employees access to matches during working hours, giving them a day's annual leave or, at the other end of the scale, introducing electronic monitoring systems to check if they are watching matches when they should be working.
The first Irish match, against Cameroon, takes place on Saturday, June 1st, at 7.30 a.m. and should cause the least trouble for employers.
However, the next two matches - on Wednesday, June 5th, against Germany, and on Tuesday, June 11th, against Saudi Arabia - take place at 12.30 p.m. Irish time. Should the Irish team make it through to the next round, employers will be relieved to hear the matches are on Saturday, June 15th, and Sunday, June 16th.
The Irish Business and Employers' Confederation is recommending flexitime working where possible and points to the success of such arrangements during previous World Cups.