Cafe Barista Working through Christmas

With Santa not being the only one working over Christmas, Acas have issued advice to employers and employees ahead of the festive period to clarify their working rights.

As well as emergency workers, thousands of hospitality and retail workers will be helping the rest of us get those last-minute presents and keeping up our festive cheer.

Susan Clews, Acas Chief Executive, said: “As millions of people across the country go on to enjoy the festive period leaving the workplace behind as they do, millions will also be working to keep the country running and the mince pies being served. 

“It’s important that at this time of year employees and employers are able to have sensible discussions about working over the holidays and that they know what is and isn’t within their rights.”

To help employers and employees have this discussion, Acas have outlined the key points to be aware of: 

  • Employers must pay at least the minimum wage, though this depends on an employee's age, check here
  • There is no legal entitlement to extra pay such as time-and-a-half or overtime pay, though many workplaces do offer this, so it's worth checking contracts and with your HR contact, if you have one
  • Employers do not have to give employees time off on a bank holiday or at Christmas if they’re not included in holiday entitlement. This is the same for full-time or part-time employees
  • If the business shuts down on bank holidays or at Christmas, then an employer can require its employees to take these days off
  • If employers require an employee to take holiday, they should notify this at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need an employee to take
  • Before making a change to the way staff take holidays, employers might need to consider whether there has been custom and practice of it before
  • Employers and employees should keep in mind that some employees may wish to attend religious services over this period and that several religious holy days occur around this time

Acas also has further guidance available for employees and employers to help them deal with workplace issues that can occur over Christmas.

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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