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It may be Christmas but it is business as usual

Published 17 December 2015

While the thoughts of many employees are now focusing on spending time off work over the festive period…it will be business as usual for many.

Different opening hours, varying demands for a service and a reduced number of staff will need to be accommodated.

Understandably, some workers will want time off to spend it with their families and they will have booked this well in advance.

The annual leave policy will provide guidance on how to request leave, but this does not mean employers may not be faced with some last minute requests for time off for Christmas.  The business needs will come first, but it is worth considering the reason for the late request to see if it can be permitted.

With Christmas Day (25 December) falling on a Friday and Boxing Day (26 December) on a Saturday it means Monday 28 December 2015 is classed as a bank holiday. However, there is no right for employees to have either day off unless the contract of employment states otherwise.

Some businesses do require staff to take the time off as a holiday. Many employment contracts do allow employers to specify when holiday must be taken and often refer to the Christmas period. It can mean employees have to save some leave to cover this period.

Workers aggrieved at having to work over the festive period or who have enjoyed themselves a little bit too much may be tempted take a sickie rather than struggle to clamber out of bed to report for duty.

The sickness policy should still apply, and although it can appear Scrooge-like, it should be used fairly and consistently to deal with any unauthorised absence.

For the conscientious employees who are due to work, and who do turn up, what they will take home in their pay packet for doing so should be made clear.

While some employers will pay time and a half or double time for working on a bank holiday, there is no statutory right to extra pay as it depends on the terms of the employment contract.

It is worth mentioning that while ‘tis the season to be jolly… it’s also a time for employers to remain fair and reasonable.

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For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 

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