The 12 Employment Law Questions of Christmas: Day 8

On the eighth day of Christmas, HR heard someone say, “do we have to let seasonal workers have a holiday?”

And HR replied...Yes!

It is a common misconception that, because seasonal workers are hired specifically to provide additional cover during the busy festive period, employers do not have to give them any time off over Christmas. However, this is not true and seasonal staff have the same right to annual leave as any other worker.

Under the Working Time Regulations, all workers are legally entitled to be paid by their employer for 5.6 weeks’ holiday per year. However, during the first year of employment special rules apply and workers are only entitled to take the amount of holiday which has notionally accrued at a rate of 1/12th of their annual entitlement per month.

In practice, therefore, truly temporary staff who are only hired for the festive period are unlikely to accrue more than a day or two of annual leave during their engagement. However, they should be allowed to take the holiday that does accrue. If the employer does not want seasonal staff to take holiday during peak periods of demand, they will need to clearly set out in the contractual terms when holiday can be taken, for instance once the busiest period has passed.

If, by the end of the contract, the seasonal worker has not been able to take any holiday, then, as with any other worker, they will be entitled to be paid in lieu of any accrued but untaken holiday entitlement as at the point of termination.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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