YOU might be legally entitled to refuse to turn up to work on Christmas Day and save waking up with taxi drivers, NHS workers and pub staff for a gruelling festive shift.
A legal firm has outlined ways in which you can tell your boss to stuff it if he or she has put you on the December 25 graveyard shift.
Legal Advice Manager Hannah Parsons, of DAS Law, explains: “Whether or not you have to work on Christmas Day will depend on your contract of employment.
“That is usually a written document but it does not have to be, and the terms can also be found in what is implied through custom and practice.
“Some employers close down on Bank Holidays and your contract will entitle you to take those days in addition to, or as part of, your annual leave entitlement in which case you would not be required to work.”
But it’s hard luck for those whose employer opens for business on public holidays and Christmas Day falls on a normal working day.
On this Hannah says: “You are likely to be contractually obliged to work unless you have been granted annual leave.”
But you might be able to refuse on religious grounds.
If you are Christian and don’t want to work on Jesus’s birthday but your employer insists you must, you cannot refuse on this basis.
However, you may have a claim for indirect religious discrimination if your employer fails to grant you annual leave for Christmas Day and you can point to other workers not receiving the same discrimination based on their religion.
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Hannah says: “It is however possible for an employer to justify a claim of this sort if they can establish that their decision was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, such as ensuring that they had sufficient staff to provide a service.
“The only law that ensures that many shop workers get Christmas Day itself off is the Christmas Day Trading Act 2004 which imposes a ban on Christmas Day trading for large shops, over 280 square metres in size, in England and Wales.”
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