WORK TIME ORGANISATION

Are there ways of organizing work time so that the employees can follow matches? If the employer adapts working time, what risks are incurred in respect to discrimination against women, other nationals, and those unmoved by football?

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SOUTH AFRICA – THE HOST COUNTRY
ALGERIA
EGYPT
HONG KONG
INDIA
INDONESIA
ISRAEL
JAPAN
KENYA
KOREA
LIBYA
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MOROCCO
NEW ZEALAND
NIGERIA
OMAN
SAUDI ARABIA
THAILAND
TUNISIA
UGANDA

SOUTH AFRICA – THE HOST COUNTRY

Employers could consider offering flexible working hour arrangements to their workforce during the World Cup. Obviously, this arrangement should be introduced in accordance with a written policy, and it is advisable that employees’ productivity be properly monitored to avoid abuse, and to ensure that such practices are not counterproductive. To avoid the risk of unfair discrimination claims, it is important for employers to offer flexible working arrangements to both men and woman, as an example, and not to make assumptions that only males would be interested in watching and attending matches. Also, employers should be careful not to give preference to South African fans over other nationalities. For example, in the event that an employer only allows employees to take leave on those days when the national team is playing matches, employees who are foreign nationals could allege that they have been discriminated against, and they could bring a claim under the provisions of the Employment Equity Act, 1998.

ALGERIA

Yes, there are ways to organize work time so that employees can follow matches. Divided work shifts and continuous working hours, for example, would allow employees to follow matches. Adapting a continuous working shift is not an issue for employees unmoved by football because it is considered an advantage. However, all parties must agree before work time is adjusted unless the contracts of employment allow the employer to change working hours without the consent of the employee.

EGYPT

The working hours in Egypt are 8 hours per day, 6 days per week, with a maximum of 48 working hours per week and a minimum of 24 consecutive hours of rest in one week. During each working day, employees are entitled to a one-hour break at least, although the parties can agree on a different work time organization. Further, the employer can change employees’ working hours without their consent if the contract of employment allows for this. If not, the employees’ consent is required.

HONG KONG

There are no laws in Hong Kong preventing employers from rescheduling working hours for their employees. However, employers should bear in mind that all employees are entitled to one rest day in every period of 7 days of work. It is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, disability, race or family status. The biggest risk of adjusting working time is that it may be seen as indirect discrimination against women or employees of a particular race.

INDIA

Certain local enactments regulate the working hours of establishments. However, the employer, in its discretion, may provide for flexible working hours/shifts. While certain employees may spend some time watching the matches, the employer should ensure that those employees still work the employer’s normal working hours and not fewer than worked by other employees, who are not interested in football. While providing flexible working hours/shifts, the employer is still required to adhere to the local laws relating to working hours. As set out above, the employer may be required to comply with local legislation that regulates working hours. An option may be provided for those interested in football to work from home so that targets and deadlines are still met. This would ensure that individuals unmoved by football can work during the regular hours and are thus not adversely affected.

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INDONESIA

Employers, in their discretion, may organize their working hours as needed, taking into account the mandatory working hours i.e. 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. Special rules may apply to public service employees. We would recommend that an adjustment of working hours by employers to accommodate the football should be optional for employees rather than mandatory to avoid claims for overtime pay by all employees if they are required to work special hours.

ISRAEL

There is the possibility of organsing working hours to allow employees to follow the matches especially in relation to those employees who are in positions that have flexible working hours. However, if an employer adapts working hours for a specific group of employees and/or in light of a special event, it may be asked to do the same for other events of interest to employees.

JAPAN

An employer can reorganize working hours as long as employees agree or such organizing is prescribed in the Rules of Employment. Employers are legally prohibited from discriminatory treatment with respect to working hours by reason of nationality. Those unmoved by football might complain and demand similar treatment for other special events (e.g. Olympics).

KENYA

Reorganizing work time depends on company policy. Flexible working hours are not an entitlement under Kenyan law unless there is a provision in the employee's contract to this effect. Employers, however, should be careful to ensure that flexible working hours do not appear discriminatory to employees who may not be interested in watching the matches. Caution should also be exercised to avoid setting a precedent for future sporting and other popular events. The employer should be careful to ensure that adopting flexible hours caters to both the employees interested in matches and those who are not; otherwise, this may give rise to discrimination claims. The employer needs to consult with employees to work out a plan that is suitable for all employees e.g. other employees are granted time off equivalent to the time off granted to football fans.

KOREA

To enable employees to follow matches, an employer may consider adopting a “selective working hour system” according to Article 52 of the Labor Standards Act. Under the selective working hour system, an employee can choose his/her start and finish time at a workplace, as long as the employee works the contractually stipulated hours of work within a given period of time. An employer should be aware that issues may arise as to whether adopting the selective working hour system is an unfavorable change in working conditions, and if so, then employers would be required to obtain the consent from the employees’ representatives (i.e. a majority of the employees as a group or the labour union representing a majority of employees).

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LIBYA

Organization of working hours depends on the employer. However, an employee may not be asked to work more than 8 hours per day, unless it is by means of agreed overtime, which may not exceed 4 hours per day and for which the employee must receive 50% more than his/her usual hourly wage. Each employee is entitled to a regular weekly day of rest and may not work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break. Employers have the right to determine their own working hours.

MAURITANIA

Employers in Mauritania are entitled to organise working hours as they wish as long as employees do not work more than 8 hours per day, unless it is by means of agreed overtime, which may not exceed 4 hours per day and for which the employee must receive 50% more than his/her usual hourly wage. Each employee is entitled to a regular weekly day of rest and may not work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break. The parties may agree on a work time organisation so that the employees can follow matches. The employer can change working hours without the consent of the parties only if the contract of employment allows it to do so.

MAURITIUS

For most service companies in Mauritius, reorganizing working hours is very difficult and therefore, not possible. Such employers need to cater to the needs of their clients and respect their professional commitments first.

MOROCCO

Summer time hours and continuous working hours are possible ways of reorganising working hours to give employees the opportunity to watch almost 90% to 95% of the games. All of this work time organization, however, depends on agreement between the employer and the employees. In Morocco, adapting a continuous working shift is not an issue because it is considered an advantage for all the employees -- women or men moved or unmoved by football. However, the employer and all the employees must agree before working hours are adjusted unless the employees’ contracts of employment allow the employer to change working hours without the employees’ prior consent.

NEW ZEALAND

It may be possible for an employer to adjust working times provided work demands can accommodate this, and where there is sufficient flexibility in terms of the employment agreement. Prohibited grounds for discrimination in New Zealand include gender, racial, ethnic or national origin. If an employer alters working times to accommodate matches, it would be difficult to establish that this comes within the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

NIGERIA

Work time is as prescribed by the employees’ respective contracts of employment and may be re-arranged to enable employees to follow matches, subject to the employer’s discretion. It is not uncommon for employers to provide television sets in a common part of the office where employees can follow the progress of most matches, while being mindful of pending official assignments in the office. Any adaptations to working hours should apply to all employees, as doing otherwise could be regarded as being discriminatory. The constitutional protection from discrimination in the Nigerian constitution is to the effect that discrimination against anyone on the grounds of the community to which he/she belongs, ethnicity, place of origin, sex, religion, or political opinion is forbidden; as such, it is unclear whether this protection can be extended to enable employees that are unmoved by football to claim any relief due to an adaptation of working time to enable other employees follow matches.

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OMAN

There is nothing in Omani law that prevents an employer from reorganising working hours. In practice, most employment contracts will stipulate the employer's working hours. If the employer changes these hours so that a worker can follow matches, it should be at the discretion of the employee to adopt the revised working hours. Article 11 of Omani Labour Law states that employers must ensure the equality of all workers when the nature and conditions of their work are similar. Any discrimination in the workplace is condemned by the Courts.

SAUDI ARABIA

Employers in Saudi Arabia have the discretion to organize work time as they deem fit as long as it does not violate the terms of the employees’ work contracts. An employer may not change the working hours of its employees if that results in substantial changes to employees’ contracts of employment. Certain employees may challenge the change if the working hours are significantly different than the standard working hours. Similarly, Article 150 of the Labour Law stipulates certain requirements for the employment of women during the night, which may have an impact on an employer adapting work time to allow employees to follow matches.

THAILAND

Dispensations may be granted by an employer to particular employees, at their request, for specific time periods, with respect to their working hours. Temporary or periodic changes to working hours across the workplace, however, would require the consent of every employee.

TUNISIA

Having continuous work shifts will allow employees to watch almost 90% of the matches with them only missing the first game at 13h30. Adapting a continuous working shift is not an issue because it is considered as an advantage for all the employees -- women or men moved or unmoved by football. All parties must agree before the working hours are adjusted, unless the contracts of employment allow the employer to change working hours without the consent of the employees.

UGANDA

Reorganising the working hours of employees depends on the employer’s flexibility and the agreement of the parties. All parties must agree before working hours are adjusted unless the employees’ contracts of employment allow the employer to change working hours without the consent of the employees.

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