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#WorkTrialsOnTrial | MP offers rights at work guidance ahead of Christmas


MP offers rights at work guidance ahead of Christmas

Ahead of of hospitality and other retail re-opening in areas set to go down to Level 3 and the normally busy Christmas period, Stewart McDonald MP calls on prospective and current employees and employers to work together to understand workers' rights, and has produced a list of tips.

Whether a full-time worker preparing for another busy season, or a temporary seasonal worker looking for some extra cash ahead of Christmas, here are some tips to keep in mind.


Mostly importantly, know that you are entitled to the minimum wage – regardless of how many hours you work or even if you’re just taking a temporary job over the Christmas period.

  • for workers aged 21 to 24 - £8.20 per hour
  • for workersaged 18 to 20 - £6.45 per hour
  • for workers18 and under - £4.55
  • for workers aged 25 and over - £8.72

These rates came into force in April 2020.


The current law ensures all workers are entitled to rest break of at least 20 mins for every six hours of continuous work during a single shift and at least 11 hours’ rest in each 24-hour period. Workers also have the right to either an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week or an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight

To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer, earn an average of at least £120 per week and have been ill, self-isolating or ‘shielding’ for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days). You may also be entitled to self-isolation grants if asked to isolate from COVID exposure.

Equal rights

Workers are also covered by equality legislation. Equality law applies to all organisations and all types if work (part-time, temporary, etc.). The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy or maternity
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Unpaid work

And finally – the issue I have constantly been campaigning on - challenging unpaid work.

Whilst the Government says that all workers are entitled to the minimum wage – there is still a culture of unpaid internships and unpaid trials that persists across these islands.

Guidance on unpaid work trials is available on here, but it remains a grey area legally.

If you feel you have not received the National Minimum Wage when you should have been, or you’ve been underpaid, I urge you to report it to HMRC.

You can also get free, clear and confidential guidance about any kind of dispute or query that you have about the workplace by calling the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100.


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,

My work is closed on Christmas Day. Will I have to make up the hours?
Some employers require staff to make up lost hours, use holiday entitlement or take unpaid leave for the hours when stores are closed.

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.

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.

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.

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.

My store is very cold over Christmas. What can I do?
There are many queries about cold workplaces in the winter months. USDAW’s guide to working in cold weather contains useful advice on what you and your employer can do.

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