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Christmas staff

With the Christmas season fast approaching, many businesses will be beginning to prepare themselves for staffing the busy festive period. As we know, Christmas is not just a December thing for many retail business and associated businesses! It is important to focus on the diversity of Christmas staff to ensure that the workplace is balanced for all.

In preparation for the Christmas season, you may be considering different approaches for covering additional festive work, options may vary between overtime for existing staff, seasonal workers or employees or agency staff. Whatever route you opt for, it’s important that everyone feels involved in the workplace and part of the overall team. Ultimately this is going to provide for a better festive feeling for all your customers and staff – after all you don’t want Santa going AWOL because he’s not getting the same breaks as his fellow permanent members of staff!

The lead up to Christmas can be a stressful time for people anyway, what with buying presents, preparations, family politics etc. Therefore, if you are requiring staff to do more overtime, do be conscious of how much you stretch them and whether or not they are finding the hours manageable. It is important that rotas are managed carefully and you try to spread the load evenly across staff. Don’t forget to think about managing holiday entitlements and scheduling holiday fairly too!

If you engage agency or temporary staff to support you through the Christmas season, you must make sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally. One starting point is to ensure everyone is invited to the Christmas party and get the same entitlements to breaks!

When engaging agency staff, you must bear in mind that they have the same rights as permanent colleagues to use any shared facilities and services provided by you, for example access to the staff room, canteen, car parking or transport services etc. In addition, after 12 weeks in the job, agency workers qualify for the same rights as someone employed directly, this includes ‘equal pay’ (the same pay as an employed person doing the same job), automatic pension enrolment and paid annual leave. The rules surrounding Agency Worker Regulations can be complicated, so if you need any help to navigate your way around them, do get in touch!

When recruiting additional staff for the festive period, it is important to bear in mind that not everyone celebrates Christmas. This does not stop those who do not celebrate from being excellent recruits for the Christmas season, however you do need to consider everyone’s beliefs and be respectful of everyone’s faith. Do not just presume someone will be happy to cover Christmas Eve or Boxing Day just because they do not celebrate Christmas! The same opportunities and considerations should be offered to everyone irrespective of their beliefs – you must not discriminate.

Whilst we find that contracts sometimes don’t take priority in the Christmas dash, do make sure you have in place the suitable contracts for those you are engaging to make sure the parameters of their working engagement are clear. For instance, zero hour contracts or fixed term employment contracts plus you may also need to look at your contract with the Agency supplying agency staff.

Sarah King, Senior HR Consultant at ViewHR says “temporary seasonal staff are important to the success of businesses across the festive period. We encourage businesses to make sure all temporary staff are provided with a contract, a good induction together with all the necessary training to allow them to succeed in their roles. Where possible, it’s important to structure your recruitment and start dates to ensure training is not forgotten.” In addition, she adds “make sure that you introduce all seasonal staff to your permanent employees, this helps them to feel part of the team!”

ViewHR is an HR and Employment Law Consultancy, working within the retail sector to provide specialist independent HR and Employment Law guidance and support.

For any enquiries or if you need a suitable zero hour contract, please contact one of the ViewHR team at or on 01425 205391 or visit our website at