EURO 2016 and employment law in Poland
The UEFA European Championship 2016 is taking place in France from 10th June until 10th July. It will be a special and exciting month for keen fans. Many of them, for sure would like to follow matches of their teams, even in the workplace. It means that employers have to cope with specific matters which arise during such tournament. The main issues affecting both employees and employers concern working time, vacation time, consumption of alcohol at work, social media use and fan clothing at work.
Polish law does not provide any special rules which may apply during EURO 2016. A lot depends on employers and their attitude.
Working time and vacation
During EURO 2016 employers may have to deal with flexibility with granting annual leave, shift swapping and allowing staff to have time off before or after football matches.
Many matches start at 3 or 6 p.m., which means that employees may request to work shorter hours in those days. Although many employers may accept such requests (especially if the management is keen of football and it will not disorganize work), staff should not expect that taking sick leave (which is extremely easy in Poland) or leave on demand on the match days will be welcome by employer. It is much better for both parties to agree on the time off.
Under Polish labour law vacation is granted in accordance with the adopted leave schedule or, if there is no such a plan, its term should be agreed by an employee and an employer in advance. Hence, reasonable employees could have taken into account the upcoming championship while planning their leave.
Another solution allowing the football fan employees to see the matches is to ask their employers to make to working time more flexible on the days when the most important matches are played. With the employer’s consent, the working day of a keen fan may start and finish, for example one hour earlier. It should be agreed in advance.
Use of social media
Keen fans usually want to stay abreast of matches during EURO 2016. That is why an extensive use of social media or sport websites may take place in those days. Introducing policies concerning web usage in the workplace can be a good idea. Under Polish Labour Code an employee is obliged to perform work conscientiously and scrupulously and to comply with orders of superiors which apply to work, unless they are contradictory to law or an employment agreement. Moreover, during working time an employee remains at the disposal of the employer at the employing establishment or in another place designed for the performance of work. Thus, watching websites during working time can be treated like a violation of employee’s duties and the employer may impose a reprimand on an employee or even consider termination of their employment. However, spending a few minutes browsing Facebook just to keep up with the scores does not seem to be a serious misconduct, does it?
Many big or reputable companies require their employees to follow rigorous dress-code rules e.g. suit for men and jacket and skirt for women. EURO 2016 is a special time, when fans want to manifest their sympathies and emotions by wearing clothes with the national colours of favorite teams. An employee is obliged to comply with all the rules binding in the employment establishment and the orders of their superiors. This means that an employee should also wear in an adequate manner – especially during meetings with clients.
However, there is nothing to prevent employer giving consent to wearing national colours during EURO 2016.
Betting games in the workplace
Betting games are complicated from the legal point of view in Poland. During the major sport events like EURO 2016 people often bet which team will win a match or what the result will be. If it is done only for fun or for a little gift – it does not entail any consequences. But, if we are talking about betting money in the workplace – it may be considered as illegal betting, so there is a risk of a fine being imposed therefor under the Penal Fiscal Code.
Some employees may want to celebrate good results with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. It is fully acceptable as long as it takes place outside working hours and outside the workplace. Drinking alcohol or being under the influence of alcohol in the workplace is prohibited and may result in disciplinary actions including summary dismissal.
This time is very important for football fans. Sometimes, emotions and sympathies may influence our work. Employers are expected to give more freedom to employees and try to understand their needs. At the same time, staff must remember about their duties in order to avoid getting a red card for unreasonable demands or behaviour. In this case, keeping a “work-match balance” appears to be the best solution.
First published on Ius Laboris Global HR.
Read more about sporting events and German employment law in our articles EURO 2016 and employment law in Germany and UK employment law considerations during EURO 2016 as well as Italian employment law considerations during EURO 2016.