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Holiday entitlements over Christmas; what employers need to know.

Published 09 December 2014

It may be the season of goodwill, but it may prove to be in short supply for an employer faced with a late request for a Christmas break.

The rush for employees to book a festive holiday starts early and most company rotas, schedules and plans will now be drawn up.

Employers can highlight that all is not lost, because with Christmas Day falling on a Thursday and Boxing Day on a Friday, many workers who get bank holidays off and do not work weekends can still look forward to a mini four-day break - and long weekend at New Year.

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave. Some companies will offer the option of working over Christmas or the New Year.

The employment contract will specify when an employee is expected to work and their rights. Employers should also be aware that although entitlements are not written down they may be incorporated through custom and practice.

There are employees willing, eager and keen to cash in and show up for work on Christmas Day and bank holidays. Many companies will pay an enhanced rate such as ‘double time’ or ‘time-and-a-half’ for working those days.

However an employee has no statutory right to enhanced pay for working on public holidays, and the employment contract should clarify this.

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