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Employers will be "flexible" over World Cup

Swiss companies generally don’t mind their employees following the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa in work time, so long as their work gets done.

A survey by the Swiss News Agency found that workers were being offered flexible hours. Unions are not issuing any special guidelines.

A German study found that on average a quarter of an hour was lost per employee in Germany during the 2006 World Cup. The loss of productivity was equivalent to 0.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

Causes of time loss at work were discussions over referees’ decisions and goals, as well as people arriving late having watched matches late the night before.

In Britain, for example, an association representing small and medium-sized businesses has issued guidelines to its members about how to deal with World Cup-affected employees.

Leading unions in Switzerland, however, do not see a problem. Germany and Britain are more football-mad, they point out. But they say that if people watch matches they have to catch up on their work. They add that it is up to companies to manage the situation.

Telecoms giant Swisscom, health insurance Helsana and big bank UBS are all showing flexibility. Helsana and Swisscom won’t be blocking access to World Cup information for workers, as there are so many ways to receive the latest updates from text messages to the internet. and agencies


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