Sainsbury's is introducing 'World Cup Working Hours' for staff when the tournament kicks off on 11 June so they have the best chance possible of not missing key matches.

Staff will be able to book time off, swap days with colleagues, start or finish earlier and time breaks to coincide with kick-offs for the tournament’s four-week duration.

While the scheme is open to all of Sainsbury’s 150,000 colleagues, not just England fans, the retailer expects the number of requests to rise dramatically if England progresses in the competition.

“Football is an essential part of the nation’s life and we want to do all that we can to help fans enjoy their team’s success," said a Sainsbury’s spokesman.

The scheme will also let staff to take unpaid leave, make up lost time at a later date, swap shifts with non-football fans and start shifts later or finish earlier. But Sainsbury’s is stipulating that all arrangements must be agreed in advance with a line manager.

“The World Cup only happens once every four years and putting these plans in place now will enable our staff to savour every moment while ensuring our business runs smoothly,” the spokesman added.

“While most requests will come from England fans, we’re also expecting to receive applications from fans that support other countries, such as Spain, South Africa, Greece and Nigeria.”

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