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There is only one thing we say to work: Not today #GoT

 

What is the news?

10.7 million American workers are expected to pull a “sickie” after staying up to watch the Game of Thrones finale last night. Brits are no better (proportionately!) given that almost 3 million were expected to skip work after the final season premiered last month.

What does the news mean?

This unexpected (or at least partly unexpected!) absence could give rise to a whole host of issues for any employer including a financial loss in company sick pay, missed deadlines and reduced productivity.

What do we think of the news?

A few of our hot responses more recently have talked about company culture and how important engagement has become. The viewing figures above speak for themselves but, whether you’re a fan or not, you can’t help but know GOT is happening and it is having an impact. In our office alone there have been a number of critiques, complaints, guffaws and disappointment over this series. Even those who don’t watch it know about it (whether they want to or not, sorry fellow colleagues!).

Whether it’s the World Cup hangover (as another example) or the epidemic that is GoT, employers need to be conscious that a hugely popular, worldwide phenomenon which involves late night watching or reduced sleep, whilst not a regular occurrence, may have a measurable impact on the workplace. Instead of agonising over how to deal with unauthorised absences, it may be worthwhile thinking about whether the culture in the workplace can accommodate these temporary circumstances. If an employer can, it may be sensible to consider having conversations with employees about different options such as 1) starting work later 2) arranging a longer lunch hour so people can watch it during their breaks or 3) taking the day off as annual leave. Being open and aware of external circumstances which may influence attendance and productivity in the workplace – whether in the entertainment, sport or political world – shows a forward-thinking employer who is engaged with its staff. After all, a happy workforce is a productive workforce and let’s not forget winter is (kind of) coming (in a few months).

If you would like to talk through any concerns you may have in relation to sickness and unauthorised absence, you can contact Solicitor, Heena Kapadi on T: 0161 358 0540 or E: heenakapadi@hrclaw.co.uk or Associate, Siobhan Howard-Palmer on T: 0161 358 0537 or E: siobhanhoward-palmer@hrclaw.co.uk.

 This contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.