The Christmas holidays are fast approaching, with many of us looking forward to a few well-deserved days of from the workplace to enjoy with our nearest and dearest.
However, the Christmas season has a big impact on most businesses and employees in the UK. It will be a time when there is likely to be extra demand for products, services and sales in some businesses whilst others may experience a quiet period or may shut for the Christmas holidays.
It’s a common misconception that all employees are automatically entitled to at least some time off work from their employers during the festive period. However, dependant upon your contract of employment, this isn’t always the case.
This year, Christmas Day (25 December 2017) falls on a Monday, boxing day (26 December 2017) falls on a Tuesday, which means these two days will be Bank Holidays. There is no legal right to have either day away from work or taken as paid time off unless terms of the employment contract allow otherwise. Paid public holidays can be counted as part of statutory annual leave.
There is no legal right to paid leave for public holidays either. Any right to paid time off for these holidays depends on the terms of a worker’s contract. Paid public holidays can be counted as part of the statutory 5.6 weeks of holiday.
Many employees will request time off to spend time with their family, go on holiday or attend religious services. Employees working over the Christmas period may experience different working patterns, a change in the nature of their workload or face difficulties getting to and from work. It’s also a period when some industries might need extra support and will take on seasonal workers.
So if you’ve recently started a new position or aren’t sure about how your employer deals with annual leave in regard to the Christmas period, speak to your HR department or revisit your contract of employment for more details.