New research by the Institute of Payroll Professionals (IPP) has revealed that one in six employees (16.3%) are planning to take holiday between 11 June and 11 July to watch the World Cup.

A quarter (26.1%) of these workers intend to book a half day in leave, a fifth (21.7%) plan to take two days off and a sixth (15.2%) are allocating more than seven days of their holiday entitlement to watch the big matches.

With many of the matches being played at 1:30pm and 4pm throughout the competition, and England playing Slovenia at 15:00 on Wednesday 23 June, it is no surprise that three-quarters (75.6%) of employees surveyed said they are planning to leave work early to watch a game.

Mr Lindsay Melvin, Chief Executive of the IPP, said: “Businesses should be aware of an influx of holiday requests during the World Cup, especially if the England team is successful in the first round of matches and progresses to the latter stages of the tournament.

“Payroll and HR departments need to be prepared to deal with these requests and make sure that there are enough staff members covering those who are on annual leave.

The inevitable rise in unauthorised absences with staff pulling ‘sickies’ during the World Cup will require organisations to ensure they have contingency plans in place in the event that a number of employees do not show up for work at the last minute.

“It is also worth considering implementing a flexible working policy in order to combat unplanned absenteeism. This can include extending lunch breaks or allowing employees to leave early on a match day, both which could be offset with them working extra hours at a later period.”