England fans could be sacked if they call in sick to watch the World Cup

England fans could be sacked if they call in sick to watch the World Cup
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As the Qatar World Cup begins in less than two weeks’ time and there's a buzz around how England will fare in the tournament with fans keen to see the action live.

But the Three Lions kick off their campaign with their opening match against Iran on a Monday afternoon (November 21), therefore many workers may be tempted to pull a sickie in order to watch the match.

However, footy fans could risk being sacked if they call in sick to work to watch the tournament, an employment lawyer has warned.

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Experts at national law firm Richard Nelson LLP have encouraged footie-mad fans to think twice before faking an illness as it could lead to losing their job.

Andrew Knorpel, a consultant solicitor in the employment law team at Richard Nelson LLP has advised fans to have an "open discussion with their employers" rather than feigning an illness.

“With England having come agonisingly close to winning the European Championships last year, the anticipation around the World Cup will only grow in the coming week.

“Due to the time difference many of the games are being played during working hours. While many England fans may be worried about missing the team’s first group stage match, we’d encourage them to have an open discussion with their employers about their working arrangements for that day.

“Where possible many companies may be able to offer an extended lunch break or even remote working for the afternoon and this is something we’d encourage.

He added: “If this cannot be granted, employees should consider taking annual leave rather than resorting to pulling a sickie. If an employer thinks their employee has called in sick and it is not genuine, they can investigate the case and take disciplinary action over unauthorised absence.”

One England fan knows all too well about these consequences when she was sacked for calling in sick after she was caught on TV cheering on England in the crowd as they faced Denmark in the semi-final at Wembley last year.

Lying or exaggerating an illness or injury in order to get time off work when they are fine can lead to gross misconduct and a fair reason in some circumstances for being let go by their employer

If workers are granted special permission to watch the game, Mr Knorpel has encouraged them to act responsibly.

Fans who are under the influence of alcohol upon their return to work later that day or otherwise do anything which might bring their employer into disrepute could leave themselves at risk of being fired also.

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