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Rugby World Cup 2015

The Rugby World Cup will be held in the UK this year and will run from 18th Sept until 31st October.

Everyone is working together to make the World Cup a great success, but there may be some real issues employers need to start thinking about now. Employers should start planning as soon as possible to manage the impact that interest in the Rugby World Cup could have on your business.

Consider whether your staff will expect to be able to watch the matches - it may be helpful to consult with employees to gauge their level of interest in the World Cup, have open communications about suggested changes to working practices which meet the needs of staff and the business.

Time off

A lot of matches will take place at the weekend, however, some will be weekdays with the earliest starting time of 2.30pm.

Employees who wish to take time off work around the time of games should book annual leave in the normal way, as set out in the company holiday handbook/policy. Leave should be booked well in advance of the event, although during the games the company may, at its discretion consider late requests for time off work.

Employers may also need to consider those who have no plans to take time off during the World Cup but may either:

  • hope to watch some TV or internet coverage while at work or may wish to discuss some sort of temporary flexible working arrangement
  • get fed up with all the fuss and any perceived favouritism shown to those with sporting interests.

Try and be fair and consistent when allowing time off, and remember not everyone is a sporting fan.

When considering requests don't forget any temporary changes to rules and policies should be non-discriminatory.

Manage attendance

It's time to start talking to your employees about their plans. You may keep your policy simple - maybe have a 'first come, first served' policy for booking leave - but it may help to draw up some guidelines.

Organisations' sickness policies will still apply during this time; this policy should be operated fairly and consistently for all staff. Levels of attendance should be monitored during this period in accordance with the associated policy. Any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence could result in formal proceedings; this could include the monitoring of high levels of sickness or late attendance. This should be communicated to staff.


Whether or not you currently have flexible working in your business, it may be something to consider, even as a short-term measure.

One option that may be agreeable would be to have a more flexible working day, when employees may come in a little later or finish earlier, and then agree when this time can be made up.

Allowing staff to listen to or watch some events may be another possible option. It may also be possible to allow staff to take a break during popular events.

Managers should however bear in mind to be fair and consistent with all staff when allowing additional benefits during the World Cup period. Managers may allow staff to swap shifts if possible, any change in hours or flexibility in working hours should be approved before the event.

Deal with performance issues

There may be problems around staff watching lengthy coverage via their computers. Why not plan for popular sporting events in advance - perhaps giving staff access to a TV during agreed times?

There may be an increase in the use of sites such as facebook, twitter, sports news or the official rugby world cup site.

Employers should have a clear policy regarding the use of the internet in the work place; this policy should be cascaded to all employees. If employers are monitoring internet usage the data protection regulations require them to make it clear that it's happening to all employees. Many employers who have an internet use policy will make it clear what is, and is not, acceptable use.