Asda's 150,000 employees may take one or two weeks off in the month starting June 9 - great, unless you are Scottish, Irish or Welsh I suppose.

Or English when the inevitable quarter final elimination happens to the first half-decent team Beckham et al come across.

It will allow football fans to watch matches on TV or even travel to Germany, the supermarket said.

Requests will be handled on a first come, first served basis, depending on the needs of each store and department.

Staff still working during the World Cup tournament may request shift swaps, extended breaks and occasional days off to watch matches. Failing that, they may still catch glimpses of the action on television sets for sale on shop floors.

The arrangement is described as part of the chain's flexible working package. Asda already offers "IVF leave" for employees undergoing fertility treatment, plus "Benidorm leave" for older workers seeking some winter sun. Is this just a caring sharing employer, or being sensible?

It's probably a mixture of both to be honest with another report warning Britain's firms to beware of a surge of sickies this summer as soccer fans stay off work to watch the World Cup.

Research by workplace advice experts Croner revealed that one in seven young men was planning to fake an illness in June so they could follow the tournament on TV.

A poll of more than 2,000 people also showed that one in 20 women would be tempted to pull a sickie for the same reason. Croner said that with many World Cup games taking place in working hours, firms should consider providing TVs in offices to cut down on the number of unauthorised absences.

Richard Smith, employment services director at Croner, said "Rather than worry about employees being struck down with 'World Cup-itis' on match days, firms should be thinking of how temporarily relaxing the rules can have positive returns for their business. We're strongly advising employers to provide on-site TV access to important games and to encourage employees who wish to enjoy alcohol during games to request annual leave around match days.

"Annual leave policies should be updated with clear guidelines issued to all employees, emphasising that unauthorised absence could lead to disciplinary action."

So there you go employers - large TVs in offices, or let your staff have a few days off, or arrange flexible working around the games. It is only for 31 days, the whole thing, once every four years, and really it is not just the same on video. The last World Cup final I missed because I was at work, and the one before that I was working too, so I suppose I've got a vested interest.

So until the inevitable penalty shoot-out defeat, employers could win everlasting thanks from their staff by helping them enjoy the tournament with their mates.

The wave of euphoria after an unlikely success could even boost productivity and a company's performance.

But then what do I know about football? I'm a Sheffield Wednesday fan.