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If you are one of the Elves working over Christmas, what are your rights?

Wednesday 18 December 2019

The Christmas period is a particularly busy time for people working in Santa's grottos across the country. But Santa and his elves are not alone and there are many other people across the country who will be working hard over the festive period and on Christmas day.

Thousands of emergency, hospitality and retail workers will be helping those who celebrate to get their last minute presents and keep the country's essential services running.

Susan Clews, Acas Chief Executive, said:

"The Christmas break is a great time to relax, spend time with families and catch up with loved ones.

"Many people across the country will be enjoying the break but millions of workers will also be helping to keep the country running during this busy period.

"It's important for employees and employers to have sensible discussions about working over the holidays and we have advice that can help staff understand their rights at this time of year."

If you have to work over the Christmas period, what are your rights? Some key considerations include:

  • Your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage, though this depends on how old you are, check here.
  • There is no entitlement to extra pay such as time and a half or overtime pay, though many workplaces do offer this, so check your contract or speak to a manager.
  • Your employer does not have to give you time off on a bank holiday or at Christmas if they're not included in your holiday entitlement. This is the same whether you work full time or part time.
  • Your employer can also make you take your holiday on bank holidays or at Christmas, if for example, the business is shut on these days.
  • Employers and workers should keep in mind that some workers may wish to attend religious services over this period and, that several religious holy days occur around this time.

Acas has guidance for employees and employers to help them deal with workplace issues that can occur over Christmas, please visit our Bank holidays and Christmas guidance to find out more.

Notes to editors

  1. For media enquiries please contact Robbie Hurley 0330 109 3899 / For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 0330 109 7070.
  2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.