Chris Kisby
Mirror Football
Shakespeare Martineau

Can you be sacked for watching World Cupwork?

The World Cup kicks off today, but for many of us that can’t be there in person, it means catching up on television.


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But with an awkward time zone, it means many of the matches will occur during work hours.

So what does that mean for fans hoping to catch the action?

We decided to check exactly what your boss can – and can’t – do to employees who bunk off, tune in at work, slide off to the pub or pull a sickie.

Here are your rights.

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Can you make your boss give you time off?

Long answer: You can still make the case to them that it would be better for everyone that they did.

Shakespeare Martineau employment lawyer Chris Kisby said: “A blanket refusal may be counterproductive. The World Cup might be an opportunity to improve employee engagement and productivity by allowing staff to watch or listen to matches.”


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You could also legally get the time off by requesting a holiday, different shifts or starting earlier than normal to finish up in time for kick-off.

Your boss has to consider a genuine request for flexible working (although we don’t think that rule was designed for football).

So if it is possible you could also make a case for working from home, they at least have to listen.

Can your boss find out if you pull a sickie?

You don’t have to tell your boss why you are ill or any details of your medical condition. If you are off work for less than seven days, including weekends, your employer cannot even demand a sick note.

But if the idea of coming over all poorly has occurred to you, it probably also occurred to your boss.

And if they start checking your vomiting bugs against the kick off times, your next match could be versus a disciplinary panel. Now that should make you ill.

There’s no way out – how do I watch it at work?

Check your employment contract before you stream it. Tech savvy employers can include rules forbidding you from streaming on the basis it crashes the network, or simply ban certain sites altogether.

Of course, if you’ve got a fast enough connection, and a TV licence, you can also stream it on your phone – it’s being shown on iPlayer live here.

And if you’re still denied, you can catch the latest on Mirror Football instead.

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