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The Rugby World Cup - a HR headache waiting to happen?

View profile for Amy Edwards
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In a word, yes!  My family life pretty much revolves around rugby: my husband manages to fit in his day job of building surveying around his rugby, and our whole weekends are governed by where he is playing and dinner time depends on what time he gets home from training.  As you can imagine, our house is eagerly awaiting the 18th September. Our entire social life for the next seven weeks depends on who is playing when, so can you imagine the excitement when his (sorry our) tickets dropped through the letterbox? Yes, actual tickets, rather than emails you have to print out yourself! 

I must admit, I hadn’t really thought about the impact the World Cup would have on employers until about 10 minutes ago, when I received an email outlining the travel arrangements for our trip to Stadium MK on a Thursday night.  Then it struck me: I’m going to have to leave the office early if I am to make kick off on time.  I then realised it would be even earlier as I needed to collect my little girl from nursery and drop her off at her grandparents, collect my husband from the station and then somehow battle our way down the M1 to get to Milton Keynes.  So now I’ve just had to book the afternoon off as holiday (if someone could please approve that for me, that would be super thank you).

By now you’re probably wondering what I’m getting at. Well it’s the same old problem of travel disruption.  If you’ve read my blogs before or follow me on twitter, you’ll know that travel disruption is something I’m always going on about.  My reasoning is because it is an issue that affects 99 percent of employers at some stage during the year; be it snow, tube strikes or rugby fans causing travel chaos at stadiums up and down the country.  Whilst stadiums are used to catering for tens of thousands of fans, it’s usually on a weekend when it’s less likely to affect people’s commutes.  It’s unusual for high profile games to be held on weekdays - and lots of weekdays at that!

So what are you going to do when Mr Blogs turns up late for work because he ‘got stuck in traffic’ or Mrs Smith asks to leave early as she has to pick her daughter up from nursery and her journey is going to take twice as long as usual? There is a lot to be said about flexibility and how it promotes a happy and productive workforce, but sometimes an unwritten rule and line managers’ discretion just isn’t enough.  It can lead to grumblings of unfairness and arbitrary application and discrimination, especially from those who aren’t interested in the World Cup or have childcare responsibilities.

The best way of dealing with it is to draw up a written and well-communicated Travel Disruption Policy that clearly sets out the rules and how you will deal with such issues, if and when they arise. It will ensure that everyone is treated fairly, that you are not exposed to claims for discrimination and it will prevent individuals from taking advantage of your good nature. It will also stand you in good stead for when the snow arrives (I hear we are supposed to be in for a bad winter).

In the meantime #carrythemhome*

If you would like to talk to someone about writing or updating your Travel Disruption Policy, please contact us today. 

Rugby Does Rugby

Brethertons is holding an exciting event to celebrate the return of rugby to its home time. As part of the town’s Rugby World Cup festival, we are hosting a special, rugby-themed breakfast with famous names from the sport giving an insight into the game. Find out more about the event and book your tickets.


*other teams are available