With the huge response to the Raptors parade this week we thought it a good time to revisit the issue of unauthorized employee absences. Many employers allowed their employees the day off to go celebrate, but there were also reports showing some employees, who did not get the day off, wearing fake noses and disguises to the parade so that they would not be identified by employers should they happen to get on TV. We discussed this topic way back in 2015 when the Blue Jays and Blue-Flu were causing a bit of a dip in employee productivity. Be it baseball, the World Cup (go Canada’s Women’s Soccer team! #CANWNT) or Raptors fever, employers need to be prepared to manage their sport fan employees!

Managing Fandom in the Office

Sports are a unifying and community-building force. Where possible, it can really boost morale and give an employer popularity points if you can give employees the day off to attend a huge parade or organize a viewing party in the office for a special game. If this isn’t feasible from a business perspective then employees who truly cannot miss a game or celebration could be welcome to use their vacation days to attend. Leniency regarding last minute requests may or may not be appreciated, but denials due to a lack of compliance with the vacation policy requiring you ask for all your days at the start of the year, for example, will lead to bitter employees who may just call in sick anyway!

Providing employees with personal or flex days can be a good way to meet this type of last-minute day off need, without too much hand-wringing or disruption. It should be expected that employees have other things come up in their lives that occasionally require time away from work.

Employees Faking Sick

Employees have a duty of honesty to their employers and also a duty to come to work and do their job. If you have reason to suspect that your employee is not actually sick you can ask for a doctor’s note. While there may be some lingering confusion about whether or not you can ask for one of these, thanks to Premier Ford you now can! Catch up on all things Personal Emergency/Sick Leave here.

If the employee cannot produce a note, or if you happen to see them on TV looking quite well, then this may warrant discipline (in writing please!). If you have an employee who is frequently “sick” on Fridays or Mondays you’ll want to consistently require doctor’s notes and where they cannot justify their absence, counselling and discipline (again in writing) about the need to attend work etc.

Managing absenteeism, that is not sports related, can be tricky because attendance issues are often connected to human rights concerns.  

If you need help managing absent or sports-crazed employees get in touch!