The Holiday Headache

The Holiday Headache

This can be in more ways than one for any employer, as the festive season gets into full swing.  There are so many things to take into consideration from an employment law perspective in the run up to Christmas so as our gift to you we thought we’d provide some handy hints to alleviate the burden without dampening that Christmas cheer:

Holiday allocation and time off
This should have been organised well in advance of the Christmas period as businesses arrange their opening hours on a similar basis each year.  Make sure you have enough staff working to cover the post Christmas pre New Year opening if applicable and that time off has been allocated fairly.

Be prepared for people to call in sick following the Christmas party if it’s held on a work night.  You’ll probably know the usual suspects but do be aware if absence is due to excess and not genuine sickness, you can invoke the disciplinary procedure for unauthorised absence.

The Christmas Party
This can be a fantastic way to reward your staff for a year of hard work and can also boost morale and commitment.  That being said alcohol in the working environment can often wreak havoc, so just ensure that staff are aware that you expect their conduct to be acceptable and representative of the business without being a ‘bah humbug.’ 

You can, if necessary, issue a statement in respect of expected behaviours, have a quick chat with staff, or deal with any poor/unacceptable behaviour after the event by way of the disciplinary procedure.  Do also be cautious if employees are driving to work the next day that they are aware of the impact of drinking and that they must bear in mind if they are safe to drive. 

One of the biggest issues with Christmas parties can surround inter-staff relations so there may be some uncomfortable situations the following day.  If any member of staff reports to you that they were the subject of any unwanted conduct you must deal with it immediately under the company disciplinary procedure.

Religious beliefs and multi-faith workplaces
Christmas is a Christian holiday but that does not stop the festive period being enjoyed by everyone irrespective of faith, background or religion.  Just ensure that everyone is tolerant of any person that may or may not be celebrating Christmas for whatever reason. 

And lastly, our last piece of advice is to enjoy, and have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!