TV Licensing reveals 30% of employees want to watch the World Cup in work

Rugby fans around the UK are set to enjoy the excitement of the World Cup playing out live on their TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones later this month, but some may have to take leave from work to keep their bosses happy.

A number of early pool stage kick-offs at 2.30pm and 4.45pm GMT may see the UK’s workers down tools early to sit in front of the canteen TV or open a live streaming service on their desk PC to catch the match.

With only one in three employees feeling informed of the rules when it comes to watching live TV at work according to recent research1, TV Licensing has developed a Workplace Viewing Guide to provide step-by-step guidance for staff and managers who want to watch the World Cup tournament at work.

Not all businesses allow employees to watch TV and research suggests many employees may be unsure whether they are allowed to watch at work.

A survey commissioned by TV Licensing indicated that only 30 per cent of all UK employees feel informed about the TV viewing policy or guidelines in their current workplace. In total, only 23 per cent of employees at a permanent workplace operating a TV viewing policy said they have permission to watch any TV at work, meaning much of the UK workforce may miss out on some crucial matches, or have to go home to catch the action.

However, 29 per cent of UK employees at a permanent workplace said they would watch a big sporting event, such as the World Cup, if the TV viewing policy allowed it.

Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

Employers may bring TVs into work for the World Cup or let staff watch on their computers or they may not allow viewing at all. It’s important that businesses communicate their policy to staff and managers know the law around viewing live TV in the workplace.

A TV Licence is required if anyone – staff or customers - watches or records TV programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV, whether on a TV, tablet, computer or any other type of equipment2. Business owners and managers can visit and download the Workplace Viewing Guide to display in the workplace, so it’s clear when a licence is needed.

Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum of Private Business, said:

TV viewing has become increasingly common to enhance the customer experience in pubs, care homes, waiting rooms and receptions. For some businesses, however, the issue is less clear cut and employees should always check with the business owner before switching on.

Events like the Rugby World Cup give business owners a cost-effective way to create a common bond between employees that can improve productivity, but only if they have the relevant TV Licence and have informed their staff of the situation.

Businesses who would like more information about TV Licensing requirements, or ways to spread the cost, can visit or call the TV Licensing businesses team on 0300 790 6165.

1 Survey conducted by online by YouGov, total sample size was 4276, of which 2049 were employees. Fieldwork was carried out 20-24 August 2015. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

2 Your licence for your home address covers you to watch live TV on any equipment away from your address as long as it is powered by batteries. If it is plugged into the mains, you need to be covered by a licence at the place you are using it. This is a legal requirement due to the Regulations under which TV Licensing operates.

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