Super Bowl Sunday is coming up this weekend, when over 110 million Americans are expected to watch the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles view for the championship on television. Considering that so many US employees skip work, arrive late, or perform poorly the Monday after the nation’s most-watched sporting event, Jana Kasperkevic at Marketplace wonders if employers shouldn’t just give up on getting any work done that day at all:
27 percent of employees have skipped work after the Super Bowl altogether. About 36 percent of male employees and 16 percent of female employees have called in sick or made a different excuse for skipping work after a major sporting event, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 workers by OfficeTeam. And while other workers didn’t stay home to nurse their Super Bowl hangover, another 32 percent of employees did arrive later than usual. On days after the big game, 42 percent of men and 20 percent of women were late to the office.
And yes, HR has noticed. When asked by OfficeTeam after which sporting event would they want to see a paid national holiday, 72 percent of the 300 HR managers surveyed said the Super Bowl.
Surveys in recent years have consistently shown a massive drop-off in productivity on Super Bowl Monday. A survey in 2016 found that 77 percent of American workers planned to watch the game and estimated that 16.5 million Americans would miss work the next day. This year, Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that the workforce’s Super Bowl hangover could cost employers over $3 billion in lost productivity. New England and Philadelphia are home to over 10 million workers, Challenger notes, and if even one in ten of these workers skips work next Monday, the lost productivity would amount to $194 million.
These dismal figures have inspired some companies to give their employees the day off and even prompted calls for Super Bowl Monday to be declared a national holiday. Kraft Heinz, for example, announced last year that it was making the day a company holiday and advocated for making it a federal holiday as well—the company even launched a petition to Congress though it failed to garner the requisite 100,000 signatures (it was not the first failed attempt at such a petition). Still, Kraft Heinz’s move was a clever bit of HR-as-PR: As the Chicago Tribune noted at the time, the company did not buy advertising time during last year’s Super Bowl, but it got some attention at game time regardless.
Actually making Super Bowl Monday a holiday would be a tall order, as only Congress can create a new federal holiday, something it has not done since declaring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in 1986. Election Day, for example, is not a federal holiday, despite persistent efforts by activists, including a large number of tech companies, to make it so.