Working over the Christmas period

Usdaw wants shopworkers to be able to enjoy a decent break over the festive period and negotiate with employers to try to get the longest possible break for shopworkers and other workers over the Christmas period.

General Secretary John Hannett said: "Usdaw is calling on employers to respect workers' contractual rights on bank holiday working, use volunteers to cover Christmas and New Year shifts and pay premium rates for working unsociable shifts. The Union is also pressing retailers to finish trading early on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve so workers get as much time off as possible with their families and friends.

"Usdaw believes that transport difficulties over the Christmas/New Year holiday period must be taken into account when retailers consider the hours employees are expected to start and finish work. The Union is urging retailers to support staff who face problems getting to and from work."

Remember: The Union's ability to deliver on this issue will depend on levels of Usdaw membership and organisation in the workplace. So, if workers aren't happy with the employer's Christmas working arrangements get them to join Usdaw.

Will all shops be closed on Christmas Day?

The Christmas Day (Trading) Act prevents shops, except for small convenience stores, from trading on 25 December. Although the legislation allows small convenience stores to trade, Usdaw is urging retailers not to open any stores on Christmas Day.

Is working on a public holiday voluntary?

For some workers, working on a designated public holiday is voluntary. For others, working on some or all public holidays is part of the contract. The position on whether working on a public holiday is voluntary is usually explained in your contract, the staff handbook or outlined in agreements between the employer and the Trade Union.

Does working on a public holiday attract premium payments?

There is no automatic right to enhanced pay if you work on a public/bank holiday. The pay rate for working these days depends on your contract of employment and any Union/Company agreements. The pay rates for working on a public/bank holiday are usually explained in the staff handbook or in other communications to staff.

Am I entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday?

There is no automatic legal right to paid time off on a public holiday. Your position in relation to working/time off on a public holiday will depend on your terms and conditions of employment.

Are Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve normal working days?

As Christmas Eve 2017 and New Year's Eve 2017 fall on a Sunday, stores will be covered by the Sunday trading rules and staff may be required to work their normal working hours. However, the Union is urging retailers to allow staff to finish early on Christmas Eve/New Year's Eve.

Every Christmas and New Year the business puts pressure on staff to work extra hours, often at short notice. Do I have to do it?

Unless your contract states otherwise, working additional hours is voluntary and should be agreed mutually between you and your manager.

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