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World Cup 'Sickies'

June 15 2006 - Amicus has attracted the wrath of business owners following widely-cited reports in the media that it has encouraged World Cup 'sickies'.

The Amicus website carries an article entitled "World Cup fever" and sub-titled: '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?'

Following a couple of paragraphs on negotiating time off, the article goes on to explore what might happen if you Just take a 'sickie'? The first sentence is the prime cause of the media attention. It states: 'It is quite difficult to prove that someone is not really sick if they have one day off'.

However, most of the article is devoted to the consequences of being caught out and the fact that it can be regarded as gross misconduct, with the risk of dismissal. This didn't prevent Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Businesses telling BBC radio that the union should remove the advice from its website.

"It's grossly unfair also on staff who are not football fans when they see a union advising their other colleagues to take a sickie, so it's grossly unfair on all staff in the workplace," said Alambritis.

Meanwhile, a survey of Internet activity by the Web security firm ScanSafe in the week leading up to the opening game found a massive increase in World Cup surfing at work.

Their data showed that Dutch employees averaged 46 minutes per day searching World Cup-related sites. UK users spent an average of 37 minutes a day engaged in the same activity. But French employees only spent five minutes per day searching World Cup-related sites, little more than American workers who spent just 4 minutes a day. The most popular target was the FIFA official World Cup site.

"The fact that people are visiting World Cup Websites is not a surprise," said Eldar Tuvey, CEO ofScanSafe. "The big concern is that recreational surfing at work not only consumes bandwidth and lowers productivity, but it can expose corporate networks to Web viruses, spyware and other malware that can steal confidential information."

ScanSafe's latest data shows that 28% of users spend nearly an hour each day on 'recreational surfing'.

"Having the right Web security technology in place is crucial, but it is equally important to ensure that staff understand and abide by the employer's policy on acceptable Internet usage," Tuvey said.

  • World Cup Matches, Employees and Discrimination
    May 24 2006 - Employers who let employees watch the World Cup during work time could be laying themselves open to discrimination claims, according to some specialist lawyers.

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