Cricket fever. Residents enjoying the India-Pakistan match on Sunday at Lamcy Plaza in Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/XPRESS

Abu Dhabi: Expecting a barrage of lame reasons from its employees who wanted to watch the recent India-Pakistan World Cup match, a company in Abu Dhabi issued a circular warning them not to bunk work.

The arch-rivals clashed on February 15, and knowing that cricket fans would feign anything from a headache to heart attack to watch the match, the company told its employees not to stay home that day.

They were also warned not to use any sick leave without medical certificates. And those who still chose cricket over work risked fined and disciplinary action. A copy of the circular obtained by XPRESS reads, “Sunday 15th February is India vs Pakistan Cricket ICC World Cup 2015. If any employee remains absent, a fine of AED 400 with warning letter will be issued.”

Mass absenteeism

Those who are absent on both February 15 and 16 would be fined Dh250 for payday absenteeism, said the circular.

In an email statement to XPRESS, a company spokesperson said the circular was meant only for those employees who were scheduled for deployment on the match day. “[Company] handles mission critical operations at various client locations and any unplanned large scale absenteeism causes disruption at customer sites. The circular was put up just as a preventive measure to curb any mass absenteeism as [Company] has a large workforce, most of them from the Asian subcontinent,” said the statement.

One employee said though it was a ridiculous circular, most staff members dropped their plans to take a day off.

“I do not know of anyone who took leave because of the circular we got the previous day. Nevertheless we all followed the game on internet,” said the Indian employee.

The company’s Abu Dhabi office has more than 1,000 staff, a majority from India and Pakistan.

Another Indian staff said the circular reflected badly on the HR policies of the company.

“We are responsible professionals and take our work seriously. Maybe there are some who did not want to miss that crucial match. But what is wrong in that?” he asked. He said many of his colleagues are worried the company will issue similar notices to stop them from watching other matches in the World Cup. “That won’t be fair. Next time when India takes on Pakistan we want to cheer for the men in blue,” said another staff member.

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