What are the rules when hiring Christmas temps?

Noella Gooden

Article written by Noella Gooden, Employment Solicitor (Australian qualified)

Christmas is often the busiest time of the year for many businesses, so the extra support from temporary staff (‘Christmas temps’) around this time is often appreciated. As an employer, however, it is important you know the rules to keep you on the right side of employment law.

The basics – pay

In the UK, there are minimum wages that all workers, regardless of their employment status, must receive. You cannot offer them a wage lower than this on the basis of them being temporary workers. This changes depending on the age of the individual, but at the time of writing, the minimum wage for each age group stands as:

  • £9.50 for those aged 23 years old and above,
  • £9.18 for those aged 21-22 ,
  • £6.83 for those aged 18-20 ,
  • £4.81 for those aged 16-17 .

It is a legal requirement that all workers receive this pay rate or above.

National Living Wage

The National Living Wage is a legal requirement for all those aged 23 years old and above. It is not a requirement to pay staff outside this age bracket £9.50. However, if you are looking to grow your business’s reputation as an employer, it may be beneficial to consider this.

Employee and workers’ rights

Under employment law, there are certain rights that all staff have, and you, as an employer, have to ensure they receive them. This includes:

  • Maximum working hours of 48 hours per week is respected.
  • Rest breaks should be received by all staff at appropriate time intervals.
  • Every paid member of staff should receive a payslip detailing how much they have received in wages, their National Insurance Contributions (NIC) , and their tax deductions.
  • Discrimination laws are applicable to all staff. Everyone in the UK has protections under the Equality Act 2010, and as an employer, you can be challenged for making discriminatory decisions.
  • Staff are protected from whistleblowing. This includes temporary members of staff.

Fixed-term contracts

To protect you and your business, all Christmas temps you hire should receive an employment contract; it is also a legal requirement for this to happen early on. When hiring for a period like Christmas, the contract offered is likely to be for a fixed term. You can end this earlier, but only if it is stated within the contract and the notice period outlined is followed.

Holiday pay

Even on a temporary, fixed-term contract, Christmas temps are entitled to holiday pay when they accrue the days. It is important that you, as their employer calculate these days and keep track of them.

If you wish to discuss this area further or for advice on a relevant employment matter, please feel free to email me or contact the team on 020 8858 6971.