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#WorkTrialsOnTrial | MP offers rights at work guidance this Christmas


MP offers rights at work guidance this Christmas


As the busy Christmas period begins, Stewart McDonald MP has produced a list of tips, info and advice to make sure people are aware of their rights at work.

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 - £7.38 per hour
  • for workers aged 18 to 20 - £5.90 per hour
  • for workers 18 and under - £4.20
  • for workers aged 25 and over - £7.83

These rates came into force in April 2018.


For rest breaks you can look to the European Working Time Directive.

This directive 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.

You are also entitled to statutory sick pay if you normally earn over £116 per week and have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days).

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.

The Chancellor this year said that “work must always pay” but we know that is not happening.

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.

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.

Are Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve normal working days?
As Christmas Eve 2018 and New Year's Eve 2018 fall on a Monday, they are normal working days.

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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