Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TAKE A SICKIE TO WATCH CUP; Leading Union's Advice to One Million Workers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TAKE A SICKIE TO WATCH CUP; Leading Union's Advice to One Million Workers

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN PRYNN

A UNION sparked a row today by advising its members how to take "sickies" to watch World Cup games.

The guidance from Amicus comes as England prepare for their match against Trinidad& Tobago at 5pm today.

London is facing a huge shutdown as millions of workers knock off early - officially or otherwise.

Employers called for the guide to be withdrawn, saying it was "grossly unfair" to encourage staff to fake illness.

The online advice to the union's one million members is under the headline "World Cup Fever". It reads: "So you want to watch the World Cup, but you are meant to be at work when it's on: can you play away or is the risk of permanent relegation from your job too high?"

The website suggests calling in sick as a last resort if workers cannot book the time off or employers do not allow workers to leave early. It outlines the risks of doing so but does not say that pulling a sickie is wrong.

It says: "If you have a few days off that happen to be match days your employer may well notice a pattern to your sickness, which might be used as evidence that sickness is not really the issue."

The advice continues under the subheading What If You Are Caught? It adds: "Taking time off work without permission can lead to dismissal for 'gross misconduct'.

"Also, lying to your employer about your reason for absence might amount to gross misconduct too."

But it offers a possible way out, saying: "However, if your company disciplinary/absence procedure does not make this clear you can argue that it is simply a form of misconduct which should be viewed in the light of your work record." But Stephen Alambritis of the

Federation of Small Businesses said employers were already taking action to be "very, very flexible" in allowing staff to structure working days around matches. …

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