superbowlThe stage is set. Super Bowl 51 will arrive in less than two weeks.  But will your employees?

In January 2016, the Workforce Institute conducted a survey to assess the impact of the Super Bowl on worker productivity the next day. According to the study, 77% of Americans planned on watching the Super Bowl. The same study estimated that 1 in 10 U.S. workers (approximately 16.5 million employed adults in 2016) would miss work the day after the Super Bowl. Of those 16.5 million, nearly 10.5 million requested the day off in advance.  Those figures did not account for the estimated 7.5 million employees who arrived to work late.

No offense to the Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers, but 2016 was nothing special. Employment consultants estimate that each year, the productivity drop the day after the Super Bowl costs employers hundreds of millions of dollars. After all, it seems like everyone will want to share their thoughts on the final play or on the best commercials.

Over the past few years, groups have even petitioned the White House and the U.S. Congress to turn the Monday after the Super Bowl into a federal holiday known as the “American Sports Holiday” or “ASH Monday.” While we think it very unlikely that the federal government will establish ASH Monday, and though absences/tardiness one day of the year won’t lead most managers to sprint to HR, chronic absenteeism/tardiness can, of course, become a serious workplace issue.

We do not aim to ruin the Big Game for all HR professionals by from now on associating the Super Bowl with employment policies (is it now too late?). But the beginning of the year is a good time to review and update (or to implement) employment policies — including absence and tardiness policies. Effective absence and tardiness policies strike a balance between employee need for time off and the demands of the business.  And, as with most employment policies, absence and tardiness policies are most effective when they are properly communicated, monitored, and consistently enforced.

Until next time, enjoy the Big Game . . .