Unauthorised football watching during working hours reason for dismissal in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
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The World Cup fever is fully noticeable in schools and in the business community in Spain. However, experts warn about the consequences if students or employees do not make clear agreements to watch football during school or working hours. 

In the first phase of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, many matches are played in the afternoon. This is a difficult time since many football fanatics are at school or work. Furthermore, the debate about watching football during work or school hours is sharply divided. In any case, companies and experts warn: Employees and students who watch football during school or working hours can be punished. 

What rules apply in Spain? 

For the self-employed, the story is quite clear and logical: if time and finances allow, time can easily be made available to watch football matches. They are not their own bosses for nothing. 

Also read: World Cup – Spain v Costa Rica

However, the situation is very different for salaried employees. Employers also appear to deal with this situation very differently. Experts give common and urgent advice to salaried people; make agreements about this with your employer. 

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“Refraining from performing work during working hours without a valid reason is a violation of the employment contract and can therefore be grounds for sanctions or even dismissal,” an employment lawyer told Spanish news channel TVE. 

Valencia warehouse worker fired after watching football during working hours 

There is a known case of a warehouse worker in Valencia who was absent to watch the European Championship. When this came out, he was fired. Nevertheless, months later, the judge ruled that this sanction was excessive and the company had to pay compensation. 

Students under the spell of World Cup 2022 in Qatar 

The World Cup football is also very much alive in schools. A student from a Spanish secondary school told RTVE that he tries to follow the matches on his mobile as much as possible during breaks and intermediate hours. In schools in Madrid, teachers also notice that their students are more often distracted during class. 

Many school boards are busy discussing with the teachers how to tackle this. The use of a telephone during class time is not allowed. Nevertheless, directors and teachers also want to accommodate the students: when Spain has to play football, they try to schedule 2 hours off so that the whole school can watch the game. 

Also read: The Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022

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