World Cup absenteeism 'will cost British businesses £100m a day'

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The Independent Online

The football World Cup, which kicks off in Germany four weeks today, is set to cost UK businesses £100m a day as thousands of Britons avoid work to follow the tournament.

According to research by Active Health Partners, the absence management consultants, absenteeism is likely to rise 20 per cent on England's first-round match days, moving higher if the team progress. The increase in workers failing to turn up to work will cost British employers as much as £100m a day, it said.

"When monitoring workplace absenteeism levels it is apparent they increase dramatically during key sporting events," Gerry Callaghan, of Active Health Partners, said.

"In the case of the 2005 Ashes, employee absenteeism rose 20 per cent at the start of the series, and for the final Test match it increased 30 per cent. We can safely assume these levels of absenteeism will be mirrored - if not overtaken - during the World Cup."

Mr Callaghan said the damage would be limited by the fact that England's first-round matches will take place in the evening or at weekends. However, he said there would still be a considerable impact among those who employ shift and night workers. He added that absenteeism was likely to rise the day after World Cup matches, as workers took time off to recover from the previous night's celebrations or commiserations.

"If absenteeism rises to 25 per cent, a conservative estimate, businesses can expect to loose an additional £98,788,923 per day. As the tournament progresses and hopefully England make it to the final, we can expect this to rise to 40 per cent."