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Can you be sacked for watching the World Cup at work? These are your rights

Mirror logo Mirror 13/06/2018 James Andrews
a crowd of people watching a football game: Not all of us can be there, but can you be fired for watching at work? © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Not all of us can be there, but can you be fired for watching at work?

The World Cup kicks off this week, but for many of us that can't be there in person, it means catching up on the telly.

But with an awkward time zone, it means many of the matches will occur during work hours.

So what does that mean for fans hoping to catch the action?

We decided to check exactly what your boss can - and can't - do to employees who bunk off, tune in at work, slide off to the pub or pull a sickie.

Here are your rights.

Here are the days you need to book off work to watch EVERY England World Cup 2018 game

Can you make your boss give you time off?

a person standing in front of a computer: You can still argue about it © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited You can still argue about it

Short answer: No.

Long answer: You can still make the case to them that it would be better for everyone that they did.

Shakespeare Martineau employment lawyer Chris Kisby said: “A blanket refusal may be counterproductive. The World Cup might be an opportunity to improve employee engagement and productivity by allowing staff to watch or listen to matches.”

You could also legally get the time off by requesting a holiday, different shifts or starting earlier than normal to finish up in time for kick-off.

Your boss HAS to consider a genuine request for flexible working (although we don’t think that rule was designed for football).

So if it's possible you could also make a case for working from home, they at least have to listen.

Can your boss find out if you pull a sickie?

Lauren Daigle lying on a bed: There's only one cure © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited There's only one cure

You don’t HAVE to tell your boss why you’re ill or any details of your medical condition. If you’re off work for less than seven days, including weekends, your employer can’t even demand a sick note.

But if the idea of coming over all poorly has occurred to you, it’s probably also occurred to your boss.

And if they start checking your vomiting bugs against the kick off times, your next match could be versus a disciplinary panel. Now that should make you ill.

Are you allowed to work after drinking?

a hand holding a glass: Lunch break © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Lunch break

It’s illegal for train drivers and other key transport workers to work after having a few, you'll be glad to hear.

But for the rest of us wine tasters and barmen, the line can be more blurry.

If your employment contract doesn’t specifically outlaw booze, you should be aware that your boss has a general duty under health and safety laws to protect you from the bottle.

In other words, if they’re doubled up in laughter as you trip up on the computer cables and fall on the office floor with can in hand, they could be prosecuted.

Can your boss limit time off to England games?

a man holding a ball: Short answer: No © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Short answer: No

Not unless they fancy being sued for discrimination.

Shakespeare Martineau’s Kisby warned managers: “If you allow time off, don’t limit your approach to England supporters. Apply it to all nationalities to avoid potential discrimination claims.”

That's right - if you can't beat them on the pitch, drag them through the courts instead.

There's no way out - how do I watch it at work?

a close up of a person: Revert to spreadsheet, revert to spreadsheet... © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Revert to spreadsheet, revert to spreadsheet...

Check your employment contract before you stream it. Tech savvy employers can include rules forbidding you from streaming on the basis it crashes the network, or simply ban certain sites altogether.

Of course, if you've got a fast enough connection, and a TV licence, you can also stream it on your phone - it's being shown on iPlayer live here.

And if you're still denied, you can catch the latest here instead.

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