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Should bosses give Euro fans a sporting chance?

Take a look around your workplace at 5pm tomorrow and you may find you're on your own... As England take on Switzerland in a must-win game in Euro 2004, a new survey has revealed that 77pc of employees would not feel guilty about skiving off work to watch the national team. Even worse, 43pc are actively planning, or know someone who is preparing, to skip work during the tournament. According to the survey of 300 employees of smaller and medium-size companies, a worrying 52pc have previously bunked off work at some point to watch a major sporting event. Of these, 8pc had missed work during last year's Rugby World Cup, but, according to survey authors Begbies Traynor, those most likely to miss work appear to be football fans, with almost 80pc of those who bunked off work doing so to watch a football match. And, of those, 55pc had missed work during the Football World Cup in 2002. While many employees were clearly happy to miss work, they were also aware that ultimately their actions could be damaging for their firm and the overall economy. More than a third of those polled agreed that unplanned absences could harm the country's economy. Nick Hood, senior London partner at Begbies Traynor, believes the problem lies with firms not being pragmatic, and failing to make arrangements for staff ahead of big games. This is backed up by the survey, which found 67pc of respondents claimed their firm hadn't made any arrangements for them to have the chance to watch England's Euro 2004 matches while at work. To discourage absenteeism, 71pc said bosses should provide televisions in offices, while more than 50pc felt that they should be allowed to stop work during England's matches, even if they weren't football fans. Mr Hood said: 'The high number of people planning to bunk off work during Euro 2004 is certainly concerning for small businesses. 'For a small business, any absence can be difficult but it's particularly difficult when they're unplanned. With this in mind, firms should consider allowing employees to watch England matches on TVs in the office. 'However, it's important that employees who don't like football are not left to cope with an increased workload whilst others watch the football. Firms need to consider the needs of all their employees and ensure they are treated equally.'
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 16, 2004
Words:391
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