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Will the Super Bowl Flu keep you from work?

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Narrator: On Sunday, an estimated 105,000 football fans will fill Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. Hundreds of millions of  fans around the world are expected to watch the game on TV.

The players will push themselves to the limit in the pivotal title game. The so-called “Super Bowl Flu” will push some employees into skipping Monday’s workday.

ILSTV spoke to Mark Shank, a Dallas-area labor and employment attorney with Gruber, Hurst, Johansen & Hail about how the Super Bowl Flu and related absenteeism affects businesses.

Mark Shank: There’s some statistics that are of interest. For example, the very well-known consulting firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated that from the Monday before the game to the Monday after the game, based upon office pools, chatting about the game, surfing the web, game planning, the reduced productivity amounts – at U.S. corporations – amount to about $16 million per minute of the time on the job.

Then there’s the Workforce Institute at the software solutions firm called Kronos, who said that as many as 1.5 million employees may call in sick the day after the game and another 4.4 million will show up late or otherwise have their production on that day to be less than optimal.

Although given a population as large as the United States. It’s not a high, high percentage, it’s still something to think about if you’re an employer – because it happens a lot.

Narrator: Super Bowl Flu can help companies reiterate their absenteeism policies, Mark says.

Mark Shank: I think one of the things that any event like this is, including Super Bowl Flu, it presents an opportunity for management to really affirm their policies. First of all, we need you to be here; you need to be responsible. Certainly you can have a good time on your own time, but you need to be responsible and set up your social time so that it doesn’t interfere with your work time. It’s a matter of management ahead of time, reaffirming these policies.

Second of all, if the management has policies that relate to absenteeism or tardiness, then they need to enforce them in the same way they would if it wasn’t the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday, to  be clear that their policies apply to all such situations and people don’t get a so-called one-off the day after the Super Bowl.

The other thing to remember is, as an employee, you’re not only judged about how productive you are when you are at work, but you’re also judged on how reliable you are. If there’s a reason why you need to be there, even if it is the Monday after the Super Bowl, and you don’t show up, you can bet some manager is taking note of that and at some point is going to make a judgment that you’re not as reliable as the person sitting next to you who may or may not be a sports fan, but who was able to make it in.

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