It’s Black Friday Week – Which means that more and more people are being employed in part time shift work as retailers gear up for the busiest time of the year.  
More Christmas Workers
This year. More people working that ever over Christmas season. Back in September, UK Retailer Argos announced that it was employing more than 10,000 extra temporary workers to cope with the annual surge of Christmas business, and Argos is just a drop in the ocean compared to some online retailers, such as Amazon.
It’s not only retailers who will be increasing Christmas shifts. In recent years there has been a steady rise in the number of people travelling abroad over the Christmas period, meaning that airports and associated industries are busier. Many of the Christmas workers are in service orientated industries such as hospitality. NHS and social care also  make up the large  group as are many other service sectors.
Christmas Shift Work
The result is that the Christmas season is not going to be the joyful time for more and more workers as the expectation to work Christmas shifts increases, and temporary workers have to learn to cope with shift patterns.
Gone are the days when every shop was shut and the parish church was jammed with worshippers, as more staff are asked to forego their festive break. According to research undertaken by Cotton Traders, almost half of Britain will be working a Christmas shift, with a huge 55% of workers having no say in the matter.
Out of the lucky few who were not to be asked to work Christmas, a quarter will sacrifice their own time off to allow those with younger families to celebrate the festive period together. 1 in 4 British workers have sacrificed their own time off by swapping shifts so colleagues with young families can spend the time with their loved ones over Christmas.
No Rights to take off Bank Holiday
The problem for many shift workers who do want to celebrate Christmas is that if it’s in the contract, there are few rights to allow them time off. There is no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays off work. Any right to time off depends on the terms of the employee’s contract of employment.
Also when an employee works on a bank holiday, there is no statutory right to extra pay – for example “time and a half” or double pay. Any right to extra pay depends on the terms of the employee’s contract of employment. For more information see our related blog from earlier this year on Bank Holiday rights for Shift Workers
Shift Work Support this Christmas
With this is mind it’s important that workers get as much support as they can. Both from employers and outside.
My Shift Planner and our content hub Shift thinking are dedicated to providing support and assistance to shift workers, helping them to keep on top of their shift pattern and stay healthy this Christmas.
Are you worried about working this Christmas, and will your shift pattern affect the way you are able to celebrate Christmas this year? Let us know in the comments below and help other shift workers this Christmas.