For many soccer fans, it’s going to be tricky catching World Cup games live during the work day, when most games will be played.

For Canadians born in such countries as Brazil, where soccer is huge, work stops when the home team plays a World Cup game. It’s just part of the culture.

Studies show absenteeism soars during special events such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, which involves at least six hours of play a day for the next 30 days.

In South Africa, the event is expected to cost employers $100 million in lost productivity. No similar data is available for Canada.

Because most games will be broadcast live and streamed online during the work day here, some may resort to calling in sick while others may try to secretly watch the games on their computers, a trend dubbed “virtual absenteeism.”

But enlightened employers see major events, like the World Cup, as an opportunity to build morale by giving their staff a “little leeway,” said Karen Seward, executive vice-president of business development and marketing at employee benefits consultant Shepell-fgi.