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Are You Aware of Your Rights as a Christmas Temporary Employee?

21 December 2022

The Christmas season is just around the corner, and businesses are looking to hire enough workers to cover the seasonal demand. According to the British Retail Consortium, 46% of retailers and hospitality venues intend to increase staffing significantly during the festive season. 

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Temporary work during the holiday season can be fast-paced, with companies looking to hire and train people as soon as possible. As a result, employers frequently fail to comply with employment regulations, leaving them vulnerable to employee action.

If you are an employer looking to hire seasonal workers, you must respect their rights. If you are a Christmas temporary worker, you should be aware of your legal rights while on the job. While it may be the season of goodwill, workplace conflicts are unfortunately not uncommon at this time of year. However, if people are aware of their rights and responsibilities, they can be managed or avoided entirely.

Here are some of the legal rights you have as a temporary Christmas employee:

  • You must be paid at least the national minimum wage
  • You must receive a wage slip, and your employer must ensure you are paying tax and National Insurance contributions on your earnings
  • Your employer must not unlawfully deduct any pay from your wages
  • You must not be required to work more than 48 hours per week on average, unless you have consented to this by ‘opting out’
  • You are entitled to rest breaks
  • Your employer must protect you from discrimination
  • You are protected from whistleblowing
  • You may be entitled to maternity/paternity leave
  • You are also protected against less favourable treatment than permanent employees which means you must receive the same pay, conditions and benefits as permanent employees and you must be informed about any permanent vacancies that become available.

Your employer should give you a contract

Even if you are only working with an employer for a short time, you must be given a contract of employment – this is a legal requirement.

Your employer should notify you if they wish to end your contract earlier

If you are employed on a temporary contract, this will usually be for a fixed term. If your employer wants to end your employment contract early, they can only do so where this is specified in the contract. They must also provide you with notice – at least one week where you have been working for them continuously for at least a month.

On redundancy pay

To be entitled to redundancy pay, you must have worked continuously for your employer for two years or more. However, despite this and in addition to being entitled to a notice period of at least one week, you should be paid throughout this, and your final pay should include other outstanding pay, such as any leftover holiday pay.

Your holiday entitlement as a Christmas employee

Yes, that’s right – even Christmas temps get holidays. Employees accrue holiday days (or pay) pro-rata, which means that the number of days you are entitled to will depend on how long you have worked for your employer. Permanent, full-time employees (working a 5-day work week) receive 28 days per year – the equivalent of 5.6 weeks. Your employer should calculate your holiday entitlement, no matter how long you have worked there.

Are Christmas bank holidays included?

You should bear in mind, particularly over the Christmas period (Christmas Day, Boxing Day etc), that your employer can include bank holidays as part of your statutory holiday entitlement. Bank holidays do not also have to be given as paid leave and this will be up to your employer.



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