With less than a week to go before the start of one of the most eagerly anticipated football championships in decades fears are that day time games, including the crucial Wales v England clash at 2pm, could spark mass absenteeism from work.

Ashley Harkus, managing partner and employment law specialist at Everett Tomlin Lloyd & Pratt, which has bases in Newport, Pontypool and Usk, considers the situation.

He said: “The European football championships are about to start and with the prospect of a Bale master class in the Wales/ England game, Wales lifting the trophy and England struggling in the qualifying group many employers have already started to issue guidance to staff about leave, unauthorised absence and standards of behaviour.

“With the Wales v England game taking place mid-afternoon on a Thursday, the level of interest has started to cause concerns with some employers about a spike in unauthorised absence and at least one party-pooping Welsh local authority sending out emails to staff warning them of the dire consequences of bunking off.

“Of course, many people have no interest in football at all but the availability of live streaming, tablets and mobile devices means the days of sneaking a radio into work are well and truly gone and the potential for staff to watch any match they want at their desk is there.

“ACAS recognises the potential impact of the tournament on employers and has issued a guide to employers on best practice.

"In previous tournaments some larger employers have introduced temporary policies for unpaid leave to prevent the disruption that unauthorised absence can have on a business.

“Most business will want to try to accommodate requests from staff to maintain morale and have planned rather than unauthorised absence but employers need to take a fair and consistent approach to requests for leave from all staff whether they like football or not, while being prepared to deal with multiple requests for leave, absenteeism and bleary eyed supporters turning up late for work."

Here are a few European Football Championship suggestions from Ashley for employers:

· Remind staff of your policies for leave and flexible working well in advance of any major sporting event

· Consider offering unpaid leave to staff, although this should apply equally to all staff who need time off whether its for football or anything else

· Consider flexible working patterns allowing employees to make up time on a later date

· Consider reminding employees that being absent or late for work without permission may be a disciplinary matter

· Ensure that staff treat each other appropriately so that friendly rivalry doesn’t end up becoming a grievance

· Review and remind staff of your internet usage policy for those who may be tempted to watch online.