Unlicensed firms face £1,000 penalty
THE World Cup has kicked off and more than half of local firms are letting their staff watch key matches, as long as it is business as usual.
However, 32 per cent of businesses are unaware they need a TV licence to watch the games online, according to a poll by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
They risk a penalty of up to £1,000, which would be sizeable dent in many firms’ cashflow.
Chris Spies, Peterborough branch chairman, FSB, said: ”It is imperative that those small firms are on the ball and ensure they are fully licensed.
“And with half of FSB members saying that they will be letting their staff watch the tournament, both employers and their staff need to look at celebrating the World Cup realistically.
“Employers should have already engaged with their staff so that they have plans in place to cater for those employees who want to watch the football, as well as those that don’t, and might want to work overtime during this period to make up the time.
“Sorting these issues out beforehand means everyone can sit back and enjoy the World Cup, without the risk of getting fined and making sure jobs still get done in the workplace.”
Ian Fannon, TV licensing spokesperson, said: “Some managers might assume if they don’t have a TV in the building, they don’t need to worry, but the rise of online TV means many more businesses need to be covered by a TV licence nowadays.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the World Cup without having to worry about facing a different kind of penalty, and we’d rather businesses think ahead and check if they need a license than risk a court case and a fine.”
The FSB has also issued guidance for employers on how small firms can avoid employment issues during this high-profile month long tournament.
The timings of the England matches lend themselves very well to UK working hours.
However, the federation is concerned that as England progresses, working fans may get over exuberant and staff absence due to hangovers will follow.