Can you start work later after World Cup games?

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Can you start work later after World Cup games?
Photo: DPA

Football fans in Germany face a dilemma during the World Cup in Brazil as a five-hour time difference means many of the matches will be played late at night. Unions have urged companies to allow employees to start work later the next day. But not all German bosses are football fans.


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Many employers stand by the German saying, “those who celebrate can also work”. But unions see things differently and have asked that employees start work later the night after matches.

“If games are played during the night, then see to it that your employees can start work the next day one or two hours later,” Carsten Burckhardt, board member of the trade union IG Bau demanded.

Since hearing the union's proposal, some German companies have planned on accommodating their employees' wishes.

“Of course we are aware of our employees’ passion for football,” said a spokesperson from Bosch Technology Group. “As a rule, individual branches come up with something that suits their workers."

If agreed by their supervisor, employees on late or night shifts can clock out during the games and then make the hours up later. Televisions will be put in all of Bosch's canteens, so colleagues can watch the matches together.

“Employees often have the chance to swap shifts with another colleague that isn't such a football fan,” said the spokesperson.

Mario Obhoven, president of the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW) said: "Many medium-sized companies are big football fans which is why, in small and medium-sized companies in particular, it should be possible that employers and workers can work out flexible working hours.”

But not all companies see it that way. “Just because the World Cup is on, it does not mean that the world stops turning," said a spokesperson from the filter systems company Mann + Hummel. “We have a responsibility towards our customers. We will not be altering shifts because of the World Cup."

Car manufacturer Daimler has a more flexible approach towards their workers' enthusiasm for the game. “In the past, we have generally allowed our employees to watch the matches,” said a spokeswoman from the company.

Those not supporting Germany in the World Cup should ask their boss if they are able to work more flexible hours during the tournament.

Try saying something like: "Darf ich eventuell morgen später zur Arbeit kommen?"

During the 2002 World Cup in Japan, managers at one language school in Berlin scheduled their expat English teachers' timetables around the matches.

“It was great," a former teacher at the school, told The Local. “All the teachers from England who wanted to watch the early morning games, met up at 9am at the local Irish pub to watch the matches. The American and Australian teachers would take our early shifts instead, and we would start teaching later.”

SEE ALSO: 21 phrases to help you get on in a German office


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