What action can employers take in advance of major sporting events to discourage absenteeism?
Given that there is potential for major sporting events such as the World Cup or Olympic Games to lead to increased unauthorised absence (including non-genuine sickness absence) employers may wish to put specific rules and procedures in place during the relevant period. For example, employees who are off sick (other than those who are already known to be on long-term sickness absence) could be required to notify their absence to a specified person, for example a member of the HR department. This would help to make employees aware that the employer is closely monitoring sickness absence during the period. The person to whom employees are required to report could ask more probing and appropriate questions when speaking to employees about their absence and would have readily available information for effective monitoring of the situation and identifying absence patterns.
This approach, coupled with advance warning to employees that unauthorised absences without a good reason and sickness absences that are not genuine will be dealt with under the employer's disciplinary procedure, should help to discourage absenteeism related to the event because employees will be made aware that their employer is scrutinising absence.