· 2 min read · News

England v Slovenia match could cost British business 147 million


The combination of sunshine and soccer is expected to cost British businesses around 147 million as staff either call in sick or find reasons not to return to the office after lunch.

Ahead of this afternoon’s knife-edge England World Cup match against Slovenia, although the majority (65%) of employees will put their careers before the World Cup, a worrying 30% have admitted they will seriously consider calling in sick on match days this year.  


According to recruitment firm Badenoch and Clarke with approximately 28.86 million people currently employed in the UK, this could mean up to 1,499,160 sick days during the World Cup season this summer, With the weekly average pay of £97.80p, that’s a total cost to Britain of £147million

And employment law firm Employment Law Advisory Services claims a mid-week ‘Friday Feeling’ today will push offices around the UK into meltdown. Its research revealed that British businesses lost £50 million a year – or £1million a week - because of the growing trend to skip work from noon on Friday.
Peter Mooney, head of consultancy with Employment Law Advisory Services, said: Today promises to be hell for many of Britain’s bosses – and coming just a day after the grimmest economic picture in decades was revealed in the chancellor’s Budget.
Businesses can ill afford their employees to swing the lead and either not turn in for work at all or slope off after lunch on the false pretence of a non-existent meeting or family illness.
We are predicting that the dreaded Friday Feeling will simply be brought forward a couple of days to coincide with England’s final World Cup group match and the glorious sunshine.
Absenteeism is said to cost British industry more than £13 billion annually.
Mooney added: Staff might not think that an unauthorized couple of hours in the pub watching a World Cup match is going to harm their company, but when you add up the cost to British business of tens of thousands of workers behaving in this way it suddenly looks a whole lot more serious.

The Corporate Potential findings showed 5% of employees confessed quite blatantly that they would be taking sick leave to watch a game during work time.

The vast majority of employees (74%) say they are not allowed to watch the World Cup during work time, compared with 26% who believe they are.  Despite this when asked if they know for sure whether their boss will allow them to watch a game in work time the majority (67%) said they were unsure.

Lisa Wynn, founder of Corporate Potential, added: It’s clear that the lines of communication between employers and their employees are somewhat blurred when it comes to watching World Cup matches during work time. But I think businesses could be missing a trick; they should be thinking longer term. Rather than merely managing possible problems with this tournament, considering what the wider potential is for your workplace could be a better use of time.

Employers should consider how they could minimize unnecessary staff absences that cost UK businesses millions every year, and use the World Cup to boost employee engagement and longer-term loyalty by turning a problem into an opportunity. Employees who feel valued and who are consulted on matters that affect them, or are important to them, are more likely to show loyalty and commitment when you need something from them in the future – and you undoubtedly will.