The hard work and dedication of Santa Claus over the festive period is typical of that shown by staff across the country and there are lessons that all employers can learn from it.
North Pole-based Santa certainly gets through a lot of travelling in the run up to Christmas, as he is expected to put in eagerly anticipated appearances at schools, shopping centres and festive parties.
While Santa’s preferred mode of transport is not one available to most employees, an employer should cover the cost for those workers who use their own vehicles for business travel during the festive period.(1)
On 25th December millions of excited children – and a few grown-ups - across the country will wake up with the realistic expectation that Santa has done his job as expected, and delivered exactly what they wished for. No doubt there will be more than one or two complaints when the wrapping paper has been enthusiastically discarded and the goods provided do not meet expectations.
It is not uncommon for employers to have to deal with complaints about staff failing to provide satisfactory service, and during the demanding festive period mistakes can happen.
Employers should deal with any complaints about staff in a fair and reasonable manner and investigate and establish the facts without unreasonable delay before deciding if any further action is necessary (2).
It goes without saying that Christmas is a particularly demanding time for Santa, as it provides him with an excessive workload and puts him under considerable pressure.
The demands of the modern workplace are such that an increasing number of employees are suffering with work-related stress (3). Communication, knowledge and good understanding an employer’s duty of care are key in dealing with such issues (4).
Santa’s main work is performed in the early hours of Christmas Day when most employees will be fast asleep before waking up to enjoy the day off.
However, there are some staff who will be working Christmas Day and many are likely to receive enhanced pay for doing this, although there is no legal requirement for an employer to do so (5).
The traditional festive period does not end until early January, but once Santa’s work is complete on Christmas Day he can look forward to a well-earned break, put his feet up and enjoy the bank holidays.
For employees there is no legal right to paid leave for public holidays. Any right to paid time off for these holidays depends on the terms of a worker's contract (6).
1. Expenses and benefits: business travel mileage for employees’ own vehicles - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 25]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/expenses-and-benefits-business-travel-mileage/overview
2. Carrying out Investigations in the workplace | Acas advice and guidance. 2015 Oct 22 [cited 2017 Jan 25]; Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5507
3. New report: Stress time-bomb affects 1 in 4 UK workers [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 25]. Available from: http://www.bhsf.co.uk/media/2016/Stress-time-bomb
4. Work related stress [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 25]. Available from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/furtheradvice/wrs.htm
5. Should I get paid double for working on Christmas Day? | workSMART [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 25]. Available from: https://worksmart.org.uk/work-rights/trouble-work/christmas-issues/should-i-get-paid-double-working-christmas-day
6. Christmas holidays - Workplace Advice & Guidance | Acas [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 25]. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5081